As today’s World Mental Health Day focuses on the needs of young people this year, GRiD, the trade body for the group risk industry, is seeking to highlight the support that’s available for young people within group risk protection products (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness benefits).
Support for mental health is wide ranging and often added within group risk protection products. It can include a clinical assessment by mental health specialists, diagnosis, counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy as well as other specialist help.
Young people can experience stress that’s quite specific to them. This can include pressures associated with social media; in education – at least 95 university students took their own lives in the last academic year. However, young people have been shown to access support when they know it’s available – Employee Assistance Programmes can often have a high usage rate among the young; especially relevant to new recruits to help them transition from tertiary education into the start of their working lives and careers, GRiD said.
Traditionally, group risk products have been bought by employers purely to provide financial support to employees and their families in times of ill-health, disability or death. However, there is now a bigger focus on prevention and rehabilitation – with a much greater emphasis on emotional support, adding more value to a company and its employees.
Such benefits are often added at no extra cost, and there’s no extra cost to use them either. It’s also possible for all staff to access the mental health support, not just those that are insured. For instance, some companies may provide group risk benefits to selected members of staff, and may believe the added-value benefits such as support for mental health can only be accessed by them, but this is not necessarily the case; often they can actually be accessed by all employees, and providers actively encourage proactive and regular use of the benefits.
Furthermore, employees don’t have to make a claim to access the benefits – they can be accessed by all employees even if a claim is never made.
GRiD wants to raise awareness of the extra support that’s available for young people and is urging employers to publicise this to their staff and encourage its use.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said: “The repercussions of young people dealing with poor mental health are far-reaching. It can be difficult for them to access support independently, and difficult for parents to know how to help them or get support themselves. Siblings too, can struggle.
“The mental health support that’s available via group risk protection products is, quite simply, fantastic. It is also incredibly good value.
“t’s important that organisations know that support is available for their employees and their dependants, and that they encourage them to access it. People need to know support is available before they need it, so if and when they do need it, they know how to get help.”