A study has found not enough emotional and psychological wellness programmes are in place at organisations.

While 72% of employers in Singapore consider stress and mental health an issue affecting productivity, only 51% have emotional and psychological wellness programmes in place, according to research by Aon.

The research, APAC Benefits Strategy Study 2017, also found 38% of firms in Singapore have no plans to implement these programmes in the future.

The United Nations International Labor Organisation (ILO) has defined stress as a “global epidemic”, dubbing it the “silent killer”. Aon claimed it is a growing phenomenon in many Asian countries, especially those with advanced economies and where Western consumerism and lifestyles are prevalent such as Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China.

“Through our analysis of client medical plan data, we are able to identify patterns,” Aon senior clinician, Dr. Menandro Sandoval said.

“For instance, a high proportion of visits to general practitioner clinics for Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTI) and various gastrointestinal illnesses are related to suppression of general resistance process, which can be attributed to mental health issues such as stress, depression, and anxiety.

“By identifying this root cause, we can help employers develop risk management programmes that address employee health holistically and create positive impact,” added Sandoval.

Tim Dwyer, CEO of Aon Health and Benefits, Asia Pacific, emphasised that employers in Asia have proactively implemented physical wellness programmes, but have been unwilling to promote mental health ones.

“However, our recent study showed that Singapore employers now view their employees’ health and well-being—both physical and mental—as a top three focus area,” said Dwyer.

“Meanwhile, across Asia, Aon has made significant investments in technology, resources, and people that can transform how organisations think about their employees’ physical, mental, financial, and emotional well-being,” he claimed.