Despite the fact one in four people in England having been diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point in their life, mental health is still the big workplace taboo in 2017.

A report commissioned by the Prime Minister, Theresa May, has highlighted that employers still have some way to go to support employees who suffer from poor mental health.

Some of the most surprising findings found in the report include:

  • Only 11% of employees have talked to their line manager about a mental health condition.
  • Only 39% of organisations have policies or systems which can support employees with common mental health conditions.
  • 80% of employers report no cases of employees revealing a mental health condition.
  • Only 24% of managers have received some type of training on mental health issues.

What is the cost of poor mental health for employers?

Poor mental health costs employers between £33bn and £42bn!

When we break these costs down, absenteeism costs £8bn, presenteeism costs between £17bn and £26bn and staff turnover costs £8bn. Roughly 300,000 individuals with a long-term mental health conditions are leaving their job every year.

The severity of the problem is huge, but the report points out that poor mental health is often preventable and recovery is possible in many cases.

What does the report recommend to tackle the issue? 

The report recommends that all employers, of all industries and size, implement the following ‘mental health core standards’ in their workplace:

  • Create, put into place and communicate a mental health at work plan
  • Build mental health awareness among employees by making information readily available
  • Foster an environment where open conversations about mental health and support can occur
  • Provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a good work-life balance
  • Promote effective people management so that all employees are having frequent talks about health and well-being with their supervisors or line managers
  • Regularly monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.

For the 3,500 private sector companies with more than 500 employees, the report puts forward more recommendations, such as the provision of tailored in-house mental health support.

What happens now?

It has been reported that Theresa May has pledged that the Civil Service and NHS will accept the recommendations that apply to them and the government will consider the recommendations made in the report in due course.

Comment

For all organisations, it is time to get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace. Employers should provide employees with appropriate training and ensure that there are effective policies, systems and initiatives in place to provide employees with mental health conditions the support they need.

Our Employment Law Advisers and Health & Safety Consultants can provide you tailored advice and policies to ensure that you are fulfilling your legal obligations and doing what is in the best interests for your business. So if you have concerns about your employees’ health and wellbeing, contact us to find out how we can help you.

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We combine the service quality of a law firm with the certainty of fixed-fee services to provide expert, solutions-focused Employment LawHR and Health & Safety support tailored to employers.

Call us on 0345 226 8393.

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