Mental Health Awareness Week: How Lloyds Bank supported a director’s mental health

Lloyds Bank offered a director significant mental health support at key life events. However, research reveals many HR departments are overwhelmed with employee mental health and that work-related stress is a significant cause of sick leave.


Lloyds director reveals depression and bipolar battle

Lloyds Banking Group colleague services and business management director Jon Howcroft-Stemp has battled depression and bipolar – all while dealing with the realisation that we was gay.

Support from his employer and colleagues enabled him to relay his story across the business and help others dealing with similar issues.

Writing in Business Insider UK, Howcroft-Stemp said that after approaching his line manager and team about his depression resulting from hiding his sexuality, they were able to understand what he was going through and give him the space to deal with it.

However, a year later his colleagues intervened when they saw deterioration in his health.

They helped him to access Lloyds Bank’s occupational health and company medical services which led to a diagnosis of bipolar affective disorder.

The bank then amended his role to use his skills without the pressure of meeting deadlines.

Howcroft-Stemp added that these actions and the other changes within his life have improved his health and overall life.


Employers unsympathetic to work-related stress

One in five (18%) employees has taken sick leave due to work-related stress, however for zero-hours workers it almost doubles to one in three (34%).

The number is similarly high for those in the charity (29%) and the creative arts and design (33%) sectors.

According to the survey of 2,000 employees conducted by First4lawyers one in three (34%) British workers said their employer was not supportive of stress as a reason for absence.

The results, which were released at the start of Mental Health Awareness week, also highlighted that one in three employees (31%) had gone in to work either stressed, depressed, ill or injured because of guilt.


HR teams unprepard for dealing with high demand of workplace mental health

Mental health support is proving a greater burden to HR departments than conflicts and disputes among staff.

Two-thirds (67%) of those HR teams surveyed said it was now a major issue at their workplace.

The Metlife Employee Benefits research released during Mental Health Awareness Week found that HR personnel were frequently facing the challenge of counselling staff.

More than half (53%) the 200 HR professionals questioned have had to provide mental health counselling to colleagues in the workplace over the past two years.

This was more than double the proportion who had had to resolve staff disputes.

The extent of the support was also surprising to HR professionals: 76% were surprised about the level of personal and private information staff told them, while 22% had gone as far as providing marriage and relationship counselling.

MetLife UK employee benefits director Tom Gaynor said: “The pressure on HR departments from dealing with mental health issues is growing and shows the strain they are under dealing with issues they are not necessarily trained for.  It also highlights a significant gap in training and the capability of line managers to fulfil this business critical role.

“It is positive to the extent that employees are willing to talk about and acknowledge that they are under stress but clearly it is preferable that staff do not get to the point where they have to seek help.

“Addressing mental health issues in the workplace does not need to be expensive and there are simple steps that organisations can take such as conducting stress audits and making full use of employee benefits and wellness programmes,” he added.

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