Matthew Tynan, AVP Consultant of HR & Secretarial shares some insight into the issue of mental health in insurance & financial services. Matt is one of the Consultants on BRUINs wellbeing committee which focuses on internal initiatives to support our employees as well as sharing best practice in the industry.
Those of you who have known me for a while will know that I’m keen to raise awareness of mental health in the workplace.
For the more alert of the bunch you may have also noticed I have moved to a new company, BRUIN Financial. And everyone, from the Board to the Consultants, shares my desire to raise awareness of mental health in financial services.
So much so we have started a Well-being team, with two objectives. Firstly, to look at the well-being of our employees, and secondly to build a culture where we can talk openly about mental health with our clients.
We’ve made progress fast and we’re holding our first event on mental health in financial services on the 9th October!
And after a whirlwind first six months, it’s a good time to take stock. So I’m looking back at an article I wrote last year, which highlighted some of the facts and figures about mental health in financial services.
As a refresher, here were some of the facts as of 10th October 2018….
“According to AdviserPlus, the UK Financial Services sector has the highest percentage of employee absence attributed to mental health illness. At 33.9%, it’s considerably higher than 24% in Retail and 22% in Utilities.” – These were the most up to date statistics I could find ………..from 2013!!
So fast forward a year (almost) and I googled the same phrase as I did in 2018: “Mental Health Financial Services”.
The first thing that struck me is there are now 263,000,000 results. This is a massive increase – people are talking about it more!
But on the flip side, the results make sober reading:
- Jobs in financial services are 44% more likely to cause stress-related mental illnesses.
- The number of stress-related absences in financial services is now higher than in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis.
- 62% of financial-sector firms saw an increase in mental-health-related illnesses in 2018.
- 74% of financial services workers think their employer should be doing more to help the wellbeing of their employees.
- 42% of financial services workers would use emotional wellbeing support if it was on offer.
At first I was horrified by these statistics. But I then started to think about it a bit more. To talk about the elephant in the room we have to acknowledge that it’s there in the first place. Knowing the facts means we have a starting point.
Now we need to improve on this and I do believe we are making progress. As more and more people discuss mental health issues, the subject is becoming less and less taboo.
Moving to BRUIN has opened my eyes to a generational difference when it comes to mental health. As one of the ‘old’ ones in the office, I’ve realised that we can learn a lot from the younger generation who are a lot more open about their mental health. And I for one do not see that as a weakness!
So I suppose what I am surmising is that a year on there is more awareness but we still have a long way to go.
We’re hoping our event in October will be the first of many and a starting point for encouraging more discussion in the industry. Top of the agenda will be the business case for investing in employee mental health, what organisations can do to pro-actively address the associated business risks. This will be followed by an open forum for people to share their organisational challenges / approaches which I think will generate some interesting discussions.
I’ve been really inspired by the reception this event has received and we’ve had a lot of interest, which for me just shows the progress that’s being made in the industry. So if you would like to hear more about similar future events or what else we’re up to in this space please get in touch!