Employee benefits provider Unum UK has reported that 30% of appointments booked through its health and wellbeing app Help@hand in January and February 2023 were related to mental health.
The data revealed that of the 2,097 Help@hand mental health consultations booked in the first two months of this year, 55% were for women, with those aged between 26 and 35 accounting for 42% of all appointments.
Anxiety accounted for a third (33%) of all mental health appointments, with depression (29%) and stress (13%) making up the other leading concerns.
Glenn Thompson, chief distribution officer at Unum UK, said: “Mental health concerns continue to rise, which is one of the reasons why we’ve transformed our Help@hand app with immediate effect to provide key enhancements to support employees and their families make meaningful changes to enhance their wellbeing.
“This includes access to quality services that really make a difference towards achieving positive outcomes — not just unlimited mental health support, but also dedicated bereavement counselling with a specialised therapist, previously only available to our group life customers.”
In light of this data, Unum welcomed the UK government’s recent commitment to invest £400 million to increase the availability of mental health and musculoskeletal resources and support for employees.
In his Spring Budget speech, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, said: “We also want help for those who are forced to leave work due to health conditions such as back pain or a mental health issue. We should give them support before they end up leaving their job.”
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Group Risk Development (Grid), said: “We must deal with the question of how people end up being economically inactive in the first place. In many cases, employees wouldn’t leave work if they were better supported by their employer.”
According to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, 16% of UK adults have experienced moderate to severe symptoms of depression, up from 10% prior to the pandemic. Meanwhile, Unum confirmed that mental health-related appointments booked vis Help@hand exceeded 1,000 per month in 2023 for the first time.
With immediate effect, Unum committed to offering unlimited mental health consultations to employees and eligible family members. This initiative was launched this week alongside nutrition consultations, personal training programmes and lifestyle coaching.