UK SMEs lack programmes to help combat mental health issues amid coronavirus pandemic
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has infected more than 180,000 people across the globe, with over 1,500 confirmed cases in the UK. Coronavirus will have a direct impact on the population’s physical health over the coming months, but people’s mental health will also suffer.
In an effort to minimise the spread of the virus, the UK government has encouraged social distancing practices, including avoiding pubs and theatres, while also encouraging people to work from home where possible. While these measures are important in reducing the spread of the disease, minimal social interaction could have an impact on someone’s mental health and wellbeing during this time.
Businesses that have support programs in place can help employees deal with mental health issues while working from home. Employee assistance programs are effective for SMEs, but only 10% of employing SMEs offer this benefit to all their employees, according to GlobalData’s 2019 UK SME Insurance Survey.
In Great Britain, 12.8 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression, or anxiety in 2018/19, according to the Health and Safety Executive. The coronavirus outbreak could cause a substantial increase in these figures, especially as the economic situation worsens, people work from home, and many worry about being made redundant.