Media - Press Releases

Unum launches new Mental Health Pathway

23rd July 2018 (amended 12th December 2018)

Unum UK has launched a new support service to help employers and their employees get the help they need when first facing a mental health concern.

Responding to a big increase in stress-related work absences, Unum has developed a ‘Mental Health Pathway’ as an early intervention service.

The Pathway provides employers and employees with access to specialist support when mental health concerns are first raised. It is designed to help prevent a problem escalating and becoming a more serious illness leading to prolonged time off work.

Dr Zakir Abbas, Unum’s chief medical officer, commented: “All employees face distressing life events such as a bereavement, relationship breakdown or stress at work at some point.

“We’ve found if an employee is struggling to cope, early, focused intervention can help and enable them to continue with their normal activities. However, accessing the right resources can be a challenge.

“The Mental Health Pathway has been developed to point people towards the right support as early as possible, as well as help them understand the options available to them.

“This removes the burden of navigating complex treatment options from the employee or employer, and ensures they choose the right therapeutic path at the outset.”

The service is easy to access and includes:

  • Specialist first line response: When any employee or employer contacts the Pathway, they will be offered an assessment by a trained health professional
  • Early intervention: Unum’s specialists will identify the support routes appropriate for each individual employee or employer
  • Proactive management and support: The individual or employer or is provided with targeted, personalised resources and rehabilitation aimed at helping the employee stay in or return to work.

As well as working with individual employees, the Pathway provides resources to help employers improve awareness, build resilience and train key staff in how best to support and improve mental health in the workplace.

Dr Zakir Abbas added:

“Just as the mental health of the workforce is an important asset to employers, being in work contributes to good mental health. Often line managers lack the knowledge and time needed to support someone with a mental health concern which is why we’re offering these services to both managers and employees.”

The Pathway is a vital tool in tackling the problem of stress and mental ill-health at work. It has been created in line with the Workplace Core Mental Health Standards recommended in the Thriving at Work review. The Pathway is endorsed by Unum’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Syed Zakir Abbas.

Any employer or employee with a Unum UK income protection policy* can access the pathway by emailing and be called back by one of our specialist health professionals – including nurses, psychologists and occupational therapists – within 48 hours.

To find out more visit



*Press release issued on 23 July 2018 stated ‘any employer or employee with a Unum UK Risk policy can access the pathway’. This was amended on 12 December 2018 to clarify the employer or employee must have a Unum income protection policy.


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