Mental Health Pathway

Helping our Group Income Protection customers get the right mental health support as early as possible.


From preventative support such as training for key staff on how best to improve resilience and mental health at work, to early intervention for an employee who’s struggling with their mental health, our Mental Health Pathway delivers services and support aligned to your specific requirements.


Mental health in the workplace - a growing concern

Mental health problems are a growing concern in the workplace.

In 2018:

  • A fifth (22%) of organisations report that mental ill-health is the primary cause of long-term absence (compared with 13% in 2016)1.
  • And nearly three-fifths (56%) include it in their top three causes of long-term absence (compared with 42% in 2016)2.
  • In Unum’s latest claims statement (2016/2017), mental health accounted for 17% of all Group Income Protection claims, second only to cancer3.

It's clear that mental health in the workplace is a challenge for many businesses.

While GPs are generally very supportive of mental health issues, there can be limitations often as a result of short appointment times, a lack of awareness of the person's employment demands or limited local resource. All of this can lead to delays in accessing appropriate support.

When the early window of opportunity for addressing mental health problems is missed a domino effect can be triggered. A problem can escalate to the extent the person no longer feels able to continue with their normal life, including being able to work.

What is the Mental Health Pathway and who is it for?



Unum’s Mental Health Pathway is available to all Unum Group Income Protection (GIP) customers. It gives them (and their employees) access to specialist support, quickly, when mental health or mental wellbeing concerns are first raised. The Pathway covers:

  • Holistic and preventative support on any issue related to mental health in the workplace
  • Early intervention support where an employee is struggling with their mental health. This can help employers and employees navigate that vital early period, and prevent temporary symptoms from becoming bigger or longer-term mental health problems.

Key to the early intervention support is the assessment by a trained specialist identifying timely, supportive and focused interventions. 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 is aimed at preventing initial concerns from getting worse. It 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 is provided with targeted, personalised resources and rehabilitation aimed at helping the employee stay in or return to work.

The Pathway draws upon the Workplace Core Mental Health Standards recommended in the Thriving at Work review

How do Unum customers access the Pathway?

Unum's Group Income Protection customers (or their employees) can access the Pathway:

Step 1: When mental health or mental wellbeing concerns are first raised, email us at pathway@unum.co.uk or get in touch with your existing Unum Claims or Rehab contact.

Step 2: One of our trained health professionals will contact you within 48 hours to understand your needs.

Step 3: Using the rich and vast range of services we offer both through our in-house team as well as our partners, we'll create a ‘pathway’ that’s appropriate for your business or individual employee to ensure you get the right support from the outset.

How will the Pathway benefit employers and employees?


With stress and mental health problems becoming a growing concern in the workplace, it's important to know how best to support your employees and your business.

The Mental Health Pathway can provide employers with:

1) Holistic and preventative support on any issue related to mental health in the workplace, such as:

  • resources to help improve awareness and build employee resilience
  • training for key staff on how best to support and improve mental health in the workplace. This is important when you consider that a report by BITC in 2017 showed that less than a quarter (24%) of line managers had received any mental health training4
  • a communications plan to help tell employees about the mental health support available to them

A new service being offered through our Pathway is a tailored 90-day mental health at work plan which our specialists can develop through one-to-one consultations with your business. The aim of the plan is to bring all components of a workplace mental health strategy together and help employers with the resources to deliver it effectively. It also focuses on building resilience and encouraging people to look for support before a problem feels too big.

2) Early intervention support where an employee is struggling with their mental health.

Contacting the Pathway as soon as you spot one of your employees struggling at work can help prevent temporary symptoms from becoming bigger or longer-term mental health problems. It can also help maintain employees in their roles, perhaps with adjustments, negating the need for extended absence.


All employees will experience distress at some point – whether that's a bereavement, relationship breakdown or some other occurrence – for which they will require understanding and the right kind of support to ensure their continued well-being.

But when experiencing a mental health concern like stress, anxiety or mood change, it can be difficult to access effective support.

Employees contacting the pathway as soon as they recognise they are struggling with their mental health can help prevent burnout, stress or anxiety from becoming long-term conditions that cause prolonged time off work.

As a HR Director what would you like to be able to offer your staff?

What are the challenges faced by the workplace in supporting Mental Health?

What role should the workplace take in supporting Mental Health?


1, 2 CIPD, “Health and well-being at work” report. May 2018
3 Unum’s Annual Claims Statement 2017. Data from all the 1722 Group Income Protection claims paid in the year 1st August 2016 to 31st July 2017
4 Mental Health at Work Report 2017, BITC, October 2017 (https://wellbeing.bitc.org.uk/all-resources/research-articles/mental-health-work-report-2017)