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Taking a lead on workplace mental health

By Adam Stones

17 May 2016
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So much is written about mental health in the workplace and plenty of advice is available on how to protect and support employees. But many organisations still fail to act – are they confused by where to start, shackled by the stigma that still surrounds mental health, or have they simply failed to understand the imperatives?

We all have mental health and we all experience periods of good and bad mental health, as we do with our physical health. It is important to help people stay well wherever possible, and employers have a duty to their employees. Being in good mental health allows us to cope with everyday pressures, work productively, and maintain positive relationships. It’s good for individuals, organisations and society.

And yet, the scale of mental ill health is staggering – since 2009, the number of working days lost to stress, depression and anxiety has increased by 24% and the total cost to employers of mental health problems among staff is estimated at nearly £26 billion each year. By taking a proactive approach to mental health in the workplace, we can reduce this number considerably.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and we are very proud to have worked with Business in the Community and Public Health England to develop a major new free mental health resource. The Mental Health Toolkit for Employers aims to help every organisation of every size take positive actions to build a culture that champions good mental health and know how to support those who have mental health problems.

This week, Business in the Community has also launched the UK’s most comprehensive survey of employee mental health. It is asking all workers in every type of organisation to give their thoughts so that a comprehensive picture can be established and solutions can be identified. Take part here.

Ensuring the good mental health of employees is an essential part of business success. With this new toolkit, knowing what to do and taking the first steps to act has never been easier.