Poppy Jaman: Why employers should consider investing in mental health

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Mental ill health in the workplace is a growing issue with one in six working age adults experiencing depression, anxiety or stress-related issues at any one time. With World Mental Health Day on 10th October, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England is calling on employers to find out how they can support the mental wellbeing of their staff.

Mental Health First Aid is the mental health equivalent of a physical first aid course and in the run-up to the day itself Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England is leading on the goal of increasing the number of Mental Health First Aiders in the workplace, and reducing the stigma often associated with mental ill health.

Here Poppy Jaman, CEO and one of the co-founders of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England shares 10 compelling reasons it is vital employers invest in employee mental health:

10 reasons every employer should invest in staff mental health

1. Retain skills through a reduction in staff turnover. Almost a third (31%) of staff said that they would consider leaving their current role within the next 12 months if stress levels in their organisation did not improve.

2. Cut sickness absence. Mental health issues such as stress, depression or anxiety account for almost 70 million days off sick per year, the most of any health condition, costing the UK economy between £70 billion and £100 billion per year.

3. Reduce presenteeism. The annual cost of mental health-related presenteeism (people coming to work and underperforming due to ill health) is £15.1 billion or £605 per employee in the UK.

4. Demonstrate a commitment to corporate social responsibility. Work-related mental ill health costs UK employers £26 billion every year through lost working days, staff turnover and lower productivity. However many business leaders still admit to prejudice against people with mental health issues in their organisation.

5. Decrease likelihood of grievance and discrimination claims from unhappy staff. Grievances or more simply: ‘concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employers’ , are on the rise.

6. Ensure compliance with legislation by understanding the law. If a mental health issue has adverse effects on someone’s ability to perform day-to-day tasks, this is considered a disability protected under the Equality Act 2010. Employers have a duty not to discriminate and to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace.

7. Ensure a healthier workplace. On average, employees take 7 days off work a year for health reasons and it is estimated that mental health issues account for 40 per cent of this figure, yet up to 90% feel unable to be honest about this being the reason for their absence.

8. Improve staff morale. 60% of employees say they’d feel more motivated and more likely to recommend their organisation as a good place to work if their employer took action to support mental health and wellbeing.

9. Increase engagement and commitment amongst staff. “Supporting mental health in the workplace is not just a corporate responsibility, staff who have positive mental health are more productive and businesses who promote a progressive approach to mental health can see a significant impact on business performance, so it’s about good business too”, Dr Justin Varney, National Lead for Adult Health and Wellbeing, Public Health England.

10. Provide better customer service. There is a strong link between levels of staff wellbeing and motivation and performance. Taking a positive, proactive approach to mental health at work can help you grow your staff and your organisation.

 

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