Employee mental health landscape

Poor Mental health accounts for more than 50% of the work days that employees in the UK are absent for ill-health reasons according to a new report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ( November 2018).

26. 8 million working days were lost due to work related ill health in 2017/18 and of these 57% (15.4 million) were due to work related stress, depression or anxiety (HSE’s annual injury and ill health statistics). Research suggests that 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem during their life time and 50% of employees experience mental health problems but are not confident in speaking to their manager in order to gain support. These findings are alarming as its likely that the severity of employees mental health will continue to decline if professional help is not sought.

44% of employees with mental health problems stated that stigma and discrimination had stopped them from looking for or returning to work ( Time to change) and 18% of employees reported that their job was the primary cause of their stress. Finally stress and bullying are identified as the two main causes of mental distress in the workplace (MIND)

Solutions and Strategies to address the employee mental health epidemic

  1. Complete a risk assessment for work related stress as this is a requirement of the HSE – (please refer to the HSE Management standards)
  2. Deliver Mental Health awareness training to management teams with the result of improved employee performance and productivity due to a chnage in managers attitude
  3. Develop policies covering the range of mental health problems likely to occur in the workplace as this will provide parity with physical health such as accidents, slips and falls
  4. Create mental health awareness surveys and compare results with absence statistics as this will inform organizations of the scale of mental health difficulties
  5. Devise a workplace well being strategy which promotes mental health and self care such as offering relaxation or mindfulness classes as only 8% of organizations have this in place
  6. Provide employees with counselling, cognitive behaviour therapy , mindfulness and promote healthy living through increased activity levels.
  7. Make reasonable adjustments in the workplace as employees with mental health issues are protected under the disability strand of the Equality Act 2010 twelve months from the point of diagnosis

Benefits of addressing the mental health of your workforce

1.Reduce the costs of lost productivity due to absenteeism

2.Reduce presenteeism and increase productivity and performance

3.Staff Retention – retain valued and experienced staff whilst avoiding recruitment and training costs

4.Reduce the cost of sickness absence payments

5.Meeting your legislative and duty of care obligations as an employer

6.Identify and manage mental health in the workplace which will foster team cohesion and employee engagement

If you would like to discuss any aspect of the article further please feel free to get in contact on 0161 955 4720 or email info@raphatherapyservices.com

Martina Witter

Accredited Cognitive Behaviour Therapist I Corporate Trainer I