Addressing Mental Health in the Financial Services Sector

It is no secret that much of the country is in some kind of mental health crisis. What’s more, the problem seems to be exasperated when you look at high pressure industries such as the financial services sector.

Consider this quote taken from the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England.

“In research conducted by MHFA England, we found that 83% of employees from the sector have considered changing jobs due to the impact of work on their mental health, with nearly half of those taking the plunge. What’s more, the research, which surveyed 1,000 people working in financial services, shows employees feel they need more support, with 60% saying their employer could do more on workplace mental health and wellbeing.”

You can discover more about the MHFA findings here.

As you can see the issue in the financial services sector is at a crisis point. That said there are positives. Let’s take a deep dive into what these are.

Stress Cases Reports to the HSE Have Dropped 36% in the Financial Services Sector

At the start of the lockdown the Health and Safety Executive received 44,000 stress cases reports. In 2023 this dropped by 36% to 28,000. This has followed several initiatives and charity partnerships by the financial services industry such as appointing mental health champions, appointing mental health first aiders, running wellbeing weeks, together with counselling.

Employees in the sector have cited that working from home has helped considerably in the work-life balance and in providing mental stress relief.

Although, positive there is still work to be done. Around 80% of those surveyed have reported at least one mental health symptom.

So, what else can be done?

Mental Health Success in the Financial Sector

The following have been shown to reduce the impact of mental stress and bring some relief to the conditions associated with the illness.

Senior Management Taking the Lead

One aspect of destigmatising mental health is to open a dialogue between senior management and the rest of the team. Talking seems to help and makes it ‘OK’ to be mentally ill. Senior management that reminds employees that resources are available engage with their teams.

This should be backed by a culture of mental awareness where time is set aside for employees to attend wellbeing workshops that focus on coping strategies for common mental health conditions such as anxiety and stress.

Training for senior management should also be rolled out to everyone on the management team, and all should be trained in looking out for signs of mental illness in their staff.

Promoting Work-Life Balance

Especially with the cost of living crisis, promoting work-life balance is essential for better mental health. Financial services companies that have adopted this strategy implement policies and make it clear of the working relationship between the firm and employees. Importantly, it emphasises the work-life balance and prioritises employee wellbeing.

It is good to see that there is help and hope on the horizon and some firms are already seeing success. This investment will ultimately serve your organisation well as it keeps your skilled staff in the game, making money. Look into it.

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