Press release:

Mental health support a top priority for managers as employees return to the workplace

Wednesday 21 April 2021
  • Just under half (44%) of managers’ mental health has got worse as a result of the pandemic
  • Almost two-thirds (62%) believe the wellbeing/mental health of their team had been or would be impacted by a return to the workplace
  • More than one in five managers (22%) were apprehensive about using their employee assistance programmes

According to research published by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) 72% of employees(i) rated their wellbeing as a top priority for management. A new study today has revealed that just under half (44%) of managers(ii) believe that their overall mental health has got worse as a result of the pandemic. And more than half (56%) of them(ii) believe that the employees in their organisations have suffered the same effects.

Early last year, it was predicted that mental health related issues cost UK firms up to £45 billion a year(iii). The impact of Covid-19 has seen a 73% upsurge in the usage by adults of Kooth’s mental health service(iv). With the long reaching effects of the pandemic predicted, this can only increase further.  As the UK emerges from a third lockdown, with restrictions eased, this prompts the need for employers to continue to prioritise their employee’s mental health and wellbeing needs. Almost two-thirds (62%) of respondents(ii) stated that the wellbeing/mental health of their team had been or would be impacted by a return to the workplace. Despite four out five managers (83%) feeling that their organisation prioritises the mental health of their staff, more than one in five (22%) were apprehensive about using their corporate employee assistance programmes.

In response to this, and in order to support its growing community, CMI has partnered with Kooth plc, the only online mental health provider accredited by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. Kooth works with employers to support the wellbeing of their employees, providing confidential and anonymous access to counselling, content and self-help tools.

Ann Francke, Chief Executive of CMI said:

It’s not surprising that so many people feel that the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns have had an adverse effect on their mental health and wellbeing. What is worrying is that employees are hesitant about using their companies’ employee assistance programmes. As leaders of any organisation, we have a duty of care to ensure that the mental health and wellbeing of our staff is prioritised and that effective support is offered where needed. This means equipping our managers with the skills and knowledge of how to spot any signs of people struggling with mental health issues. Giving them the support to understand how and when to intervene or signpost in an appropriate and timely manner. We must also ensure that we’re keeping an eye on our managers too, those who may be prioritising everyone else’s needs above their own.

Sir Norman Lamb,  Former Health Minister and Liberal Democrat MP, said:

Whilst the pandemic has irrefutably taken its toll on the whole of society, it’s young people who will be disproportionately affected. Not only have the events of the past year widened inequality and denied them of their opportunities; this pandemic will also leave a lasting impact on too many young people’s mental health. As we return to relative normality, those leaving the security of their school or university support systems need to know that they aren’t alone. Membership of the CMI is open to young people, you don't need to be a manager to join. Via its partnership with Kooth, CMI offers access to digital mental health services and support at a time when it's perhaps needed the most. However, I appeal to you, if you are struggling, do not feel ashamed or alone, please seek help now.

Dr Lynne Green, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Chief Clinical Officer at Kooth Plc, comments:

Returning to the workplace is likely to be anxiety provoking for many people and we should all be alert for any changes in 'usual presentation' which may suggest increasing stress levels or deteriorating mental health of our colleagues. For those people who are not comfortable using their organisation’s employee assistance programmes, membership with CMI enables access to the Kooth digital mental health support.

For more information on all the benefits of CMI membership, including access to free, confidential support for your mental health needs, visit

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Notes to editors


  1. Management Transformed, CMI commissioned ICM to undertake a nationally representative poll of over 2,282 UK employees in August and September 2020 - including senior leaders, managers, and non-managers.
  2. The research was carried out by the Chartered Management Institute between 26 March and 6 April 2021: 1,274 managers responded to the poll.
    Analysis published by Deloitte, 22 January 2020
  3. Insight from Kooth, 6 August 2020:

About the Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the Chartered professional body for management and leadership, counting 155,000 managers and leaders in its membership community. There are currently over 11,000 Chartered Managers and growing.

Backed by a unique Royal Charter, CMI is the only organisation able to award Chartered Manager status - the ultimate management accolade, which is proven to boost individuals’ career prospects, management capability, and impact in the workplace.

About Kooth plc

We are the UK’s leading online mental health platform. Our mission is to provide accessible and safe spaces for everyone to achieve better mental health. Our online platform is clinically robust and accredited to provide a range of therapeutic support and interventions. All our services are predicated on easy access to make early intervention and prevention a reality.

Our services are:

Kooth: for children and young persons

Qwell: for adults

Kooth work: for organisations

Kooth is commissioned in 80% of the NHS’s clinical commissioning group areas across the country. It is a fully safeguarded and pre-moderated community with a library of peer and professional created content, alongside access to experienced online counsellors. There are no thresholds for support and no waiting lists. Currently, Kooth sees over 3,500 logins a day.

Qwell operates across distinct locations and serves specific cohorts, including parents, teachers, victims of crime and those who have suffered from or continue to experience domestic violence. It is also offered as a benefit by a number of corporate organisations delivering anonymous digital mental health support services to employees.

Kooth Work - a corporate service, aimed specifically at employers to support the wellbeing of their employees, providing confidential and anonymous access to a wellbeing community, counselling, content and self-help tools.  Kooth Work provides valuable, anonymous insights into the wellbeing of the workforce so that employers can identify specific areas of improvement for their wellbeing strategy.