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A disconnect between awareness of mental health and willingness to use support services

October 07, 2021

One third of employees say they felt more comfortable talking about mental health over the past 12 months than ever before, while 6 in 10 believe people will be more comfortable talking about their mental health in the future. Despite this, just 1 in 10 made use of counselling services during the pandemic, demonstrating a disconnect in comfort levels between talking about mental health and actively accessing support services. 

This was revealed through new multi-market research carried out by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of Allianz Partners. The research was conducted amongst expat and local employees in the UK, Germany, Canada, UAE and Singapore with the aim of measuring the impact of Covid-19 on respondents’ mental health and helping employers understand how best to support the mental health of their teams.

The research highlighted the importance of employers investing in health and wellbeing supports and services to ensure a sustainable and productive workforce, as many staff are still dealing with the mental health challenges of the pandemic. Although it’s evident that employers across the globe have been stepping up to provide support, a lot more can be done to ensure employees are using and reaping the benefits of these supports. Depression and anxiety cost the global economy USD 1 trillion a year in lost productivity1. Providing appropriate mental health support to employees improves not only the employee’s quality of life but also increases companies’ productivity.

Paula Covey, Chief Marketing Officer for Health at Allianz Partners commented, “While the health insurance industry always recognised the importance of mental health as well as physical health, in the wider public domain it felt, to some degree, like the silent elephant in the room that everyone knew was there, but people were sometimes uncomfortable talking about. Our long-term goal is to make talking about mental health as comfortable as talking about a sprained wrist. We want to encourage dialogue and help people to understand that mental health challenges are normal, sometimes frequent, and help them understand when and how to make use of support services.

It’s clear from the research that awareness of mental health has increased and people are more comfortable talking about it and this is extremely encouraging. However not all employees feel supported and there’s still a very low up-take of some mental health services like 
EAP and counselling. I think there’s a real opportunity here for employers to build on their mental health support programmes and make some significant strides forward”


The survey revealed that there is no one size fits all approach to mental health. Whilst some employees value counselling services, other employees value the role of technology in aiding their mental health. Almost half of those working in UAE and Canada claim to monitor their mental health all/most of the time. Smartphone APPs are the preferred method of monitoring mental health followed by journaling and speaking to a professional. Employers should consider providing employees with information on mental health apps, making them available to employees and encouraging staff to use them to track their mental health.

Now, more than ever, there’s an opportunity for employers to add real value to their employees’ lives and contribute to a society that is more open when it comes to discussing mental health and wellbeing. Providing employees with the right tools and supports is key to reducing the stigma that has long been attached to mental health. 

Allianz Partners is a world leader in B2B2C insurance and assistance, offering global solutions that span international health and life, travel insurance, automotive and assistance. Customer driven, our innovative experts are redefining insurance services by delivering future-ready, high-tech high-touch products and solutions that go beyond traditional insurance. Our products are embedded seamlessly into our partners’ businesses or sold directly to customers, and are available through four commercial brands: Allianz Assistance, Allianz Automotive, Allianz Travel and Allianz Care. Present in 75 countries, our 21,500 employees speak 70 languages, handle over 71 million cases each year, and are motivated to go the extra mile to help and protect our customers around the world.

For more information, please visit: www.allianz-partners.com