Supporting employee Mental Health during the Cost of Living Crisis

Claire Moore
Human Resources
Claire Moore

During this time of uncertainty the cost of living crisis is putting employees at higher risk of suffering mental health problems as they try to navigate managing their household finances.

Claire Moore

Recent research carried out by Ciphr reported that over two in three employees (68%) admit to feeling stressed or overwhelmed at times because of cost-of-living increases.  

We take a look below at some steps you can take to help support staff during this time.

Reduce the stigma

It is important to create an environment where employees are able to open up about any financial or mental health concerns they have. Despite 1 in 4 individuals in the UK being affected by poor mental health every year, many people still find it a difficult subject to talk about. This can create a major barrier to many people receiving the treatment and support they need.

World Mental Health Day is a great time to start the conversation around mental health, letting your staff know ‘its ok to not always be ok’. There are a whole host of resources on the Time to Change website which you can use to start the conversation within your workplace.

Confirm your commitment

A documented policy can provide clarity for employees on the steps they should follow if they find themselves struggling at any point. It also confirms your commitment to employees’ mental wellbeing by letting them know what you will do to help.

Encourage your employees to be honest when reporting absences, let them know it’s ok to have time off due to poor mental health. The sooner you are aware of the issues your employee is facing the sooner you can support them.


There are a number of places in which employees can obtain advice and support in relation to the rising cost of living. If you have an EAP they may be able to provide employees with financial advice. It is important to ensure that line managers are aware of these organisations, you could also display posters on notice boards for those who may not feel able to discuss their concerns with management. Another option could be to invite a financial professional in to hold webinars/lunch and learns to provide advice on budgeting/debt management.

Consider remote working

Since the pandemic many employees now work remotely or split their time between the office and home. It is important to ensure those working remotely still have access to support. This could be simple steps such as ensuring they have a weekly check in call with their manager, or actively encouraging them to take their rest breaks/get out for a lunch time walk.

With the increased cost of living some may prefer to work from home to save on commuting costs, whereas other staff may be concerned regarding increased electric bills caused by home working. Managers should look to understand their employee’s needs, and where possible allow staff flexibility. This could be in the case of splitting time in the favour of the employee’s preferred location of work over the winter months.

Implement Mental Health First Aiders

Many organisations are taking action by training Mental Health First Aiders within their workplace. Mental Health First Aid England recently reported that in 2018/19 a staggering 140,000 people had undertaken their training. Volunteers will typically complete a two-day training session to become first responder ‘listeners’ who can signpost to services, they do not become counsellors or experts but will play a crucial role in helping your organisation manage employees’ mental health.

If you would like some support with designing your own mental health policy

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