AIRMIC 2023: Companies warned they need to act on mental health crisis

Businesses have been warned there is a looming mental health crisis as the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt.

Peter Jenkins, general manager – Northern Europe for International SOS told Emerging Risks that events such as the Airmic Conference in Manchester could be the catalyst for many members of staff to suffer.

“The world is starting to return to more face to face meetings and events such as this,” he explained. “However, we are seeing a looming mental health crisis as staff return to work.

“They may have spent the past two years quite isolated, and it may have impacted their mental health and left them very different people to how they were prior to the pandemic.

“They have emerged from COVID to face crisis after crisis are now being asked to attend face to face meetings and large gatherings.

“They may well not be equipped to do so and will suffer as a result. We are already seeing a large number of mental health issues are clients have sought support for and it is likely to only intensify.

“Business needs to be aware of the potential for mental health issued and they need to look at how they can better identify if a member of staff is struggling. You need to have plans in place to react if an issue is highlighted.”

Jenkins said it is likely that the current support systems which were in pace pre-pandemic will need to be revisited and revaluated to take into account impact that the pandemic has had on staff and their working practices.

Businesses and their risk management team will need to prepare for the mental health risks that are posed post pandemic.

“It is a major risk to businesses, and we see that risk only increasing the months to come. Companies need to be aware of the risk, of the issues, and how they can manage staff to ensure they are not put in a position which may leave them struggling to cope.”