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Family health: Why the mental health of employees’ families is a workplace issue


Posted on: Wednesday November 17, 2021

by Charles Ashwell

There‘s a saying that as a parent, you’re only as happy as your unhappiest child. This might not be true for everyone, but what is true is that it’s hard to watch someone we love when they’re struggling in life.

It can be impossible to stop these worries affecting our work. Like financial stress, concern over our families’ mental health can lead to losing sleep, lack of focus, stress, depression, or other mental health conditions.

All of these symptoms are likely to impact productivity. What’s more, employees dealing with these kinds of issues are more likely to need to take absence days at short notice to support their family.

So what can employers do about it?

We've written before about how employers can support working parents and carers. It’s a similar process: in a nutshell: offer your employees mental wellbeing benefits that are available to their family as well.

Adopting supportive employment practices can help employees enjoy a better work-life balance, with consequent gains for productivity, engagement, loyalty and wellbeing. Such measures can also help build up a positive image for organisations and create an edge in attracting and retaining talent.


Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) are employee benefit programmes offered by many employers. EAP are intended to help employees deal with personal problems that might adversely impact their work performance, health and wellbeing.

EAP generally include assessment, short-term counselling and referral services for employees and their immediate family - wherever they are in the world.

Online GP appointments

Employees or members of their household may be suffering from conditions which are not obvious from the outside but have a severe impact on daily life and can be difficult to discuss in a work context.

Being able to speak in confidence with a medical professional at a time that’s convenient to them saves the employee stress, and their employer gets back potential time lost to attend GP appointments during work hours.

The GP can provide clarity on the situation and information on treatment options which helps the employee feel more in control.

While mental health is understandably high on the agenda at the moment, a complete wellbeing strategy can make a long-term difference to productivity across the workforce. Mental, physical, financial and social wellbeing are all linked, and a successful strategy needs to embrace all of these aspects.

Find out more about our wellbeing services or get in touch.

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