The workplace cost of poor mental health

Last year the government commissioned the Stevenson / Farmer Review of Mental Health and Employers and it generated some really interesting statistics about mental health in the workplace:

  • Absence due to mental health had risen by 5%, with people absent due to mental health 3 times more likely to have a period of long-term sickness.
  • Poor mental health is estimated to cost between £33 and £42bn per year – that’s an average cost of £1,250 - £1,560 per employee per year.
  • Only 11% of employees felt comfortable discussing mental health problems with their manager – in fact half said they would never discuss it!
  • Only 24% of managers have received any form of training on mental health in the workplace.

So what can businesses do to reduce the impact of poor mental health, not only on their bottom line but on their employees and their teams?

  • Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan that promotes good health and outlines support available.
  • Develop awareness amongst employees through information, tools and support.
  • Encourage open conversations about mental health – start this at the recruitment stage and repeat at regular intervals.
  • Provide good working conditions, a healthy work/life balance and development opportunities.
  • Promote effective people management, give managers the skills to have discussions about mental health.
  • Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.
  • Provide access to confidential mental health support and clearly signpost it.
  • Nominate a senior lead to spearhead your mental health programme.

What do you currently do to help your employees? Could you do more?

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