World Mental Health Day: Is financial anxiety the new 'burn-out'?

Last year, World Mental Health Day centered around the topic of ‘burn-out’ after the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that that ‘Burn-out’ would be officially identified in the International Classification of Diseases starting from January 2020.

The WHO defined the term as:

  • “Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.

  • "Burn-out is characterized by three different dimensions: 1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; 2. Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; 3. Reduced professional efficacy.

  • "Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

World Mental Health Day 2020

12 months on and we are approaching the annual awareness day of World Mental Health Day on 10 October. This year the mental health charity Mind is celebrating the day with the theme of ‘do one thing’ for better mental health.

Understandably the events of 2020 have had a noticeable effect on the nation’s mental health. From the months of lockdown, loss of life, through to job uncertainty and reduced income, looking after the mental health of friends, family and colleagues has never been so important.

Why is mental health or mental wellbeing so important look after?

Mental ill health costs employers in the UK £30 billion every year – this can be through absence, reduced productivity or costs for additional resource. It’s important to recognise that mental heath issues can be created at work.

Last year a Mental Health in the Workplace Report found that more than four in ten (42.4%) employees have suffered stress. When asked what the underlying causes of mental health issues in the workplace, the top three reported reasons were:

  • Increased workload (38.2%)

  • Financial concerns (17.9%)

  • Workplace bullying (9.5%)

The impact of financial anxiety

This year we know that financial security is a huge concern to everybody. 9 million employees have been on furlough for at least one 3-week period since March, and 700,000 individuals have already been removed from the payrolls of UK companies. The UK is now in recession and updates from the Chancellor last week have revealed further financial support being put in place as part of the Winter Economic Plan.

There is an established link between our mental, physical and financial wellbeing. In 2019, Perkbox ran a survey which revealed money as the biggest cause of stress for employed adults – more than 25% feel stressed about finances on a daily basis. If you add the impact of coronavirus, reduced incomes and risk of redundancy, you can understand that many more of us will be struggling with financial anxiety.

What can employers do to help?

We’ve already shared some advice on looking after staff mental wellbeing during the redundancy process but taking on the theme of ‘do one thing’ here’s our top tips:

  1. Ask what support your staff would like to have in place

  2. Signpost where employees can access mental health support e.g. the Mind website or local support groups

  3. Encourage staff to think about what they can do daily to improve their mental health – remind them of the benefits of getting out in the fresh air, physical exercise like going for a lunchtime walk etc.

  4. Invest in training for skills such as mental health awareness or stress management. Boosting skills within your team doesn't have to be on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. Our online elearning courses are able to deliver the training you need over the internet.

Mental Health Awareness

This course explains the difference between mental health and mental illness. It covers the symptoms of a number of the most common mental illnesses so you will know what to look out for or what to expect if you are working with someone with one of these conditions. As well as providing some practical advice on how you can work effectively with those affected by these conditions. Try the first module for free - click here!

Equality, Diversity & Discrimination

In this course we're going to be discussing two topics, 'equality' and diversity' and how they relate to one another. Understanding this will help us to identify and address issues of unfairness and discrimination in the workplace. Try the first module for free - click here!

Stress Management

Stress is a real problem for both organisations and their employees. It accounts for a significant proportion of work related illness each year. Being aware of the signs of stress, some of the triggers and how to manage them can make a real difference to your wellbeing and that of people around you. This course will cover an introduction to stress and why it's a problem, some of the causes of stress and some ways to minimise the risk of stress. Try the first module for free - click here!

We’re here to help

We're here to help all employers through the current challenges. From our free webinars and online training courses through to our specific HR support packages such as our Redundancy Support Package, there is a level of support to suit your budget.

Call us today on 01722 325833 to discuss your needs or email

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