- 81 per cent of workers who have faced challenges with their mental health say their physical health has been adversely affected too.
- 76 per cent of workers who have had financial difficulties say their mental health has also deteriorated.
- 71 per cent of workers who have had problems with their physical health have also experienced difficulties with their mental health.
Research into the attitudes and experiences of over 4,000 British adults, of whom 2,470 are in full or part time work, by AXA PPP healthcare* reveals a triple threat to workers’ wellbeing from financial, mental and physical health problems – problems that are pretty prevalent too. Over half (52 per cent) of the workers polled admit to having faced financial difficultieswhile around a third say they’ve lived with mental ill health (36 per cent) or had problems with their physical health (30 per cent).
Knock on effects?
Mental health: Most workers (81 per cent) say that, when they’ve experienced difficulties with their mental health, their physical health has suffered too, while over half (52 per cent)admit that their finances have been adversely affected.
Physical health: Similarly, when facing problems with their physical health, 71 per cent say that they’ve also experienced difficulties with their mental health, while 40 per cent report that their finances have taken a turn for the worse.
Financial health: A sizeable proportion of employees who’ve had financial difficulties say that their mental health (76 per cent) and physical health (50 per cent)have also been adversely affected.
These findings are supported by a recent NHS Digital report into comorbidity which found that over a third of people with symptoms of a severe common mental disorder also had a chronic physical condition. For example, asthma was twice as prevalent in those living with a mental health condition. Equally, asthma and high blood pressure were associated with mental health conditions including depression, anxiety and phobias. Overall, experiencing a chronic physical condition was linked to lower levels of mental wellbeing.**
Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services for AXA PPP healthcare, comments: “Our research shows that, when employees are experiencing financial problems or have a mental health or physical health issue, the link between these areas of wellbeing may lead to their negative experience being exacerbated. It’s a potentially toxic mix that calls for careful handling. When considering wellbeing initiatives, employers would be wise to take a holistic approach to enable employees to maintain their mental, physical and financial wellbeing. This may involve providing suitable support to help them manage their problems – such as an employee assistance programme and other online resources and helplines such as those provided by the mental health charity, Mind, and Citizens Advice to assist them with psychological and financial difficulties.
“Being afraid to open up about personal problems – whether they’re work related or not – can seriously affect employee wellbeing. Mood, productivity and engagement can all be disrupted. To help to address this, it’s important for the organisation’s leadership to promote a positive, supportive workplace culture where employees are encouraged to speak up and seek support for the challenges that are proving difficult to overcome. It’s also important for employers to ensure that line managers are suitably trained and supported to recognise and help employees when they’re struggling to cope. If employees appear withdrawn, downbeat or are behaving out of character, managers need to take the lead on engaging with them in an appropriately professional and supportive manner to better understand what’s troubling them and guide them to suitable support.”
*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4183 adults, of which 2470 said they worked full or part time. Fieldwork was undertaken 20th-22nd May 2016 and the survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
**Rai D, Stansfeld S, Weich S, Stewart R, McBride O, Brugha T, Hassiotis A, Bebbington P, McManus S, Papp M. (2016). Chapter 13: Comorbidity in mental and physical illness, pp 332-335, in McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. (eds) (2016). Mental health and wellbeing in England: adult psychiatric morbidity survey 2014. NHS Digital:
About AXA PPP healthcare
AXA PPP healthcare – one of the largest and most experienced private medical insurance providers in the UK – has been helping people to access healthcare services since 1940. Today it forms the UK healthcare arm of AXA and provides cover for medical and dental care for individuals and employers, and employee wellbeing, counselling, occupational health and rehabilitation services through its specialist Health Services division.
AXA PPP healthcare has been named the Best Healthcare Provider for three years running in the Your Money Awards and, in June 2015, was awarded the prestigious accolade of European Large Contact Centre of the Year at the 2015 European Contact Centre & Customer Service Awards, followed in September 2015 by the Best Customer Experience accolade in the Large Contact Centre category of the UK Customer Experience Awards 2015.
The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 166,000 employees serving 103 million clients in 64 countries. In 2015, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 99.0 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 5.6 billion. AXA had Euro 1,363 billion assets under management as of December 31, 2015. In 2016 Interbrand ranked AXA the 1st insurance brand worldwide for the 8th consecutive year.
In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Insurance, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 10,500 staff in the UK.
The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 – Bloomberg: CS FP – Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA’s American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY.
The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.
It is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.