Corporate mental health support: are employers doing enough?

As a counsellor in private practice based in Epsom, I have witnessed firsthand the growing need for effective mental health support in the workplace which can benefit, employees, employers and customers. While many companies claim to prioritise their employees' well-being, the reality often falls short of these promises. In this article, we delve into the truth behind corporate mental health initiatives and explore what employers can do to genuinely support their workers.


Lip service vs. genuine action

Too often, companies engage in superficial mental health campaigns without providing meaningful resources and support. HR departments, often lacking expertise in mental health, tend to take a reactive rather than proactive approach, leaving employees feeling unsupported and undervalued. In many cases, the very goals and targets set by company executives can exacerbate mental health conditions, acting as a major trigger for burnout and increased sick days. This disconnect between corporate objectives and employee well-being is a significant concern.

Moreover, employee assistance programmes (EAPs), which are meant to provide support, are frequently inadequate. These programmes often have limited access to professional counselling services and insufficient mental health insurance coverage, with healthcare providers opting for the cheapest option to minimize costs. HR departments may not be fully aware of the limitations of these programmes, further compounding the problem and leaving employees without the necessary support to maintain their mental health.

The consequences of insufficient support

The consequences of insufficient mental health support in the workplace are far-reaching. Employees struggling with mental health issues may experience decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher turnover rates. This not only affects individual well-being but also takes a toll on company culture and morale. Inconsistent engagement with customers due to frequent employee absences or departures can damage client relationships. When clients inquire about their account manager or contact, employers often struggle to provide a clear answer, resorting to vague excuses about the employee being off unwell with stress. This lack of transparency can ultimately result in significant financial costs for the employer.

Empowering employees: alternative support options

A number of solutions are available for consideration, such as:

  • Providing employees with a list of approved counsellors in private practice allows them to choose a counsellor that best suits their needs and schedule.
  • Allocating corporate wellness budgets or offering mental health stipends to empower staff to access personalised, confidential support.
  • Creating a "well-being hub" with drop-in facilities and timeout zones for employees to decompress and prioritize their mental health.
  • Facilitating experiential groups that promote open communication and transparency across the organisation, reducing the need for employees to manage up and improving staff and customer retention.

Building a mentally healthy workplace – a call to action NOW

Drawing from my experience of over 25 years in the corporate workplace, I have seen firsthand what works well and what doesn't when it comes to supporting employees' mental health. To create a genuinely supportive environment, employers must shift from reactive to proactive mental health strategies. This includes regular check-ins, mandatory training for managers, and fostering a culture of openness and destigmatisation. 

By collaborating with mental health professionals and organisations, companies can provide on-site support, workshops, and seminars to educate and engage their workforce in line with the examples above.

The urgent need for effective mental health support in the workplace cannot be overstated. By empowering employees to seek help from counsellors in private practice and investing in comprehensive mental health initiatives, employers can create a mentally healthy workforce that benefits both individuals and the organisation as a whole.

If you are an employer looking to improve your company's mental health support or an employee seeking guidance, I invite you to reach out to me at my practice in Epsom. Together, we can work towards building a workplace culture that truly prioritises the well-being of its people. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Epsom, Surrey, KT18
Written by David Campbell, Counsellor MBACP Registered Individual and Couples Therapy
Epsom, Surrey, KT18

David Campbell is a BACP registered therapist offering outcome driven counselling in Epsom, Surrey and online giving you a safe, trusting and confidential place in which to be seen, heard and work through the issues you are facing. My practice is adapted to your needs allowing you to move forward with greater clarity and confidence in the future.

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