The stigma long associated with mental health challenges is fading. Companies should turn that to their advantage. Technology can help.
Companies increasingly understand the value of having an inclusive culture at work. When a culture is open and supportive, employees are more likely to love their jobs, be more productive, and advance to more senior levels in the organisation over time.i
One area of inclusion that still gets far less attention than it needs, however, is mental health. That’s unfortunate because, according to the results of a recent Accenture survey of 2000 workers in the UK, nine in ten individuals have been affected by mental health challenges – either their own, or those of a family member, friend, or co-worker.ii
How can companies strengthen – or jumpstart – their mental health offerings? Technology can be a useful tool in three ways: getting the word out; enabling support 24/7; and helping employees help one another:
Getting the Word Out
Although most of the C-level executives in an earlier Accenture survey were aware of the mental health services offered within their organisation, that number dropped to 50 percent for workers below the manager level.iii So as a first step, executives can take to their email to alert employees about services that the company may already be offering.
They might also consider writing a blog, posting a video, or hosting a webinar about mental health support at work and the company’s desire to normalise the topic. Opening up about challenges they themselves have faced can be powerful as well. Senior leaders, by their actions, can shift a culture quickly. Yet only 14 percent of our respondents had ever heard a senior leader talking about the importance of mental health. Just one in ten had heard a senior leader talk about being personally affected.
About the Author
Barbara Harvey is a managing director with Accenture Research. She is also the executive sponsor for Accenture’s Mental Health program in the UK.
i. Getting to Equal 2018: When She Rises, We All Rise, Accenture. https://www.accenture.com/es-es/_acnmedia/PDF-73/Accenture-When-She-Rises-We-All-Rise.pdf
ii. Accenture conducted this survey of 2000 working men and women across the UK on behalf of “This Can Happen,” the UK’s largest annual conference on mental health. It’s published in full in It’s Not 1 in 4; It’s All of Us. https://www.accenture.com/t00010101T000000Z__w__/gb-en/_acnmedia/PDF-90/Accenture-TCH-Its-All-of-Us-Research-Updated-Report.pdf, November 2018
iii. Accenture conducted this survey, of 2000 working men and women and 400 undergraduate students in June 2018. It was published in Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace – The Role of Technology, https://www.accenture.com/t00010101T000000Z__w__/gb-en/_acnmedia/PDF-88/Accenture-World-Mental-Health-Final-Version.pdf in October
iv. Accenture (2018) Patients+Doctors+Machines: Consumer survey on digital health
1. There are 11 partners behind this initiative: Heads Together, CIPD, the Federation of Small Businesses,
the City Mental Health Alliance, Mental Health First Aid, the Work and Health Unit, Public Health England, NCVO, The Work Foundation, Time to Change, and the Institute of Directors.