Recent figures have found that the majority of counselling calls have been regarding anxiety and depression.
Employers may believe that employee mental health and wellbeing will start to improve now that lockdown measures have been eased, however, new data has discovered that this may not be the case.
In fact, figures released by Towergate Health & Protection found that during March 2021, counselling calls spiked by 145% over the figures from March 2020, with numbers exceeding the peak previously seen back in July 2020.
According to one of Towergate Health & Protection’s employee assistance programme (EAP) providers, the majority of calls for counselling services have been regarding anxiety, low mood and depression.
Commenting on the findings, Brett Hill, distribution director for Towergate Health & Protection, shared that these latest figures indicate that counselling has increased as things have started to reopen.
“It would be understandable for employers to think that the peak time for stress would have been in March 2020, when the country was in the midst of the most severe lockdown,” he said.
“However, the figures show that utilisation of counselling provision has increased significantly as things have begun to open up again. There may be many reasons for this, including the anxiety of returning to work and the stresses of resuming the rush and tumult of everyday life.”
With back to work guidance now scrapped and masks and social distancing no longer being mandatory, these worries felt by employees may now be exasperated further.
Hill echoes this as he added: “We have been conditioned to become socially distant, and the return to busy offices, a hectic commute, and a gear-change in life in general are all likely to bring with them stress and anxiety.”
However, he pointed out that employers can offer support to staff to “make sure these problems do not escalate and affect working life”.
“Support is available and employers should make use of it to ensure the wellbeing of their workforce,” he concluded.