Mental health in the financial industry

We’ve recently blogged about the importance of mental health stewardship across portfolio companies, but today we’re turning our attention to an area of mental health even closer to home. In recent years, we’ve observed an escalating crisis unfold within the financial industry; one that doesn’t concern numbers, but the mental well-being of its workforce. A study recently conducted by the product provider, Embark Group, uncovers the stark reality – 43% of financial advisers grapple with dwindling motivation, while an alarming 40% report higher levels of anxiety. This surge in mental health concerns in the industry demands urgent attention and action.

Supporting consumers through changing economic landscapes

One major contributing factor appears to be the escalating cost of living crisis. According to Embark Group’s Investor Confidence Barometer, 70% of advisers surveyed who said they experienced mental health pressures agreed that rising business costs were a contributing factor. This economic strain has not only burdened the industry with increased business costs but also stoked the fires of financial anxiety among its professionals.

The ripple effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have also added an extra layer of stress to those in the wealth sector. Financial advisers and wealth managers, who are often tasked with guiding companies to consider employee mental health, find themselves wrestling with their own well-being. Juggling escalating client expectations, constantly shifting compliance requirements, and mounting workloads have become their daily reality. As they strive to navigate this intricate labyrinth, their mental health takes a significant toll.

Creating a happier workforce

This issue can no longer be pushed to the sidelines. To attract a diverse workforce and maintain a competitive edge, wealth sector companies must foster a culture of mental health awareness and support. This involves transforming workplaces into sanctuaries that prioritise mental well-being alongside financial success.

Leaders could introduce the Mental Health First Aider scheme run by MHFA England as a starting point. The programme trains designated staff members to identify and understand symptoms of mental health issues, provide initial help, and guide a person towards professional support if required. By implementing such a system, firms can ensure an ongoing conversation about mental health, reducing stigma and fostering an environment where employees feel understood, supported, and less isolated.

Incorporating such measures into the financial industry’s business models not only benefits individual employees but also contributes to the overall productivity and morale of the organisation. By doing so, we can gradually peel back the layers of this unfolding mental health crisis, replacing it with a resilient industry where mental health is recognised as an integral part of overall well-being. It’s time to invest in mental health – because a thriving industry is built on the foundation of a healthy, motivated workforce.

Further tips for improving mental health in the workplace

Fostering a mentally healthy work environment requires a multi-pronged approach. Here are some strategies that financial firms can implement to better support their employees’ mental health:

  1. Promote open dialogue

    Encourage conversations about mental health within the workplace. This could include educational workshops, open forums, or even sharing stories of personal experiences. Breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health begins with open, non-judgemental dialogue.

  2. Implement and continually develop mental health policies

    Develop and communicate a comprehensive mental health policy that supports employees dealing with mental health issues. This could include providing resources, access to therapy, mental health days, and setting up mental health support groups.

  3. Provide training

    As mentioned, The Mental Health First Aider scheme run by MHFA England is an excellent program to invest in. By training staff members in mental health first aid, you’re equipping them with the skills to identify and support those struggling.

  4. Foster work-life balance

    Encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This could be achieved through flexible working hours, enforcing mandatory breaks, or allowing remote work when possible.

  5. Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP)

    Implement EAPs that offer short-term counselling, stress management, and referrals to mental health professionals. These programmes can provide employees with much-needed help during challenging times.

  6. Practice active listening

    Managers and supervisors should be trained to actively listen and empathise with their employees’ concerns. Feeling heard can often alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety.

  7. Promote physical wellness

    Mental and physical health are interconnected. Offering gym memberships, yoga classes, or organising team sports can promote overall wellness.

  8. Encourage mindfulness and relaxation practices

    Provide spaces for relaxation and encourage mindfulness practices like meditation. You could also provide access to mindfulness and relaxation apps.

  9. Regular check-ins

    Managers should have regular check-ins with their team members, not only focusing on work but also discussing their well-being. This helps to create an environment where employees feel cared for and supported.

  10. Support personal development

    Offering learning opportunities and personal development initiatives can help employees to feel valued, decrease job dissatisfaction, and reduce stress levels.

By implementing these measures, financial firms can help create an environment where mental health is prioritised, contributing to a happier, more productive workforce.


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