COVER Mental Health Forum

Changing the mindset

Approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. Suicide is the biggest killer of British men under the age of 45 and 10% of children and young people suffer from depression. Is the protection, life and healthcare insurance industry doing enough to support the mental health needs of society, at a time when the NHS struggles to cope with increasing demand?


Every story in the national press about ordinary people being refused life insurance due to the disclosure of mental health issues is a blow to the reputation of an industry that already lacks trust in the eyes of many consumers. We live in a society which is working hard to normalise conversations around mental health, so, as an industry, it is crucial we break down underwriting barriers and improve access to insurance.


Employers too have a growing obligation to support the mental wellness of their workforce, with sign-posting, EAPs and early intervention pathways all playing their part - so how are group policies, cash plans and employee benefits evolving? Support services are available through individual polices to help families suffering from bereavement or coming to terms with critical illness, while the emergence of mobile app technology is there to be harnessed by providers.


What role can mindfulness, safe spaces and other psychological practices such as CBT therapy play in helping us understand and treat the complex workings of the mind? Physical wellness is already at the heart of many policies, so perhaps making mental health a main focus of policies should be next on our agenda.


All these themes - and more - were explored at the inaugural COVER Mental Health Forum on Thursday 14 March 2019.