I’m sure that most of you have seen the statistic, 1 in 4 of us will fight a mental health problem this year, but recent research suggests this statistic will increase to 1 in 2 in the near future. But why does good mental health matter in the workplace?
Around 91 million working days are lost each year due to poor mental, costing the UK economy £94 billion. Most importantly do you know the cost of ignoring mental health for your business.
What would you say if I told you that you can increase productivity in your business by as much as 12% if you invested in an effective wellbeing strategy? That for every £1 you spent on improving employee wellbeing you would see between a £1.5 to £9 return.
Good mental health should be a priority for your business and implementing it needs to involve more than just the HR department. It’s vital to get buy-in from senior leadership and make sure conversations about mental health and wellbeing happen at board level. When staff feel happy and well cared for, they are more engaged, motivated and loyal.
Currently 67% of employees feel scared, embarrassed or unable to talk about mental health concerns with their employer - it is important that as an employer you are creating an open and caring culture.
So how can you put mental health on the agenda and break the taboo?
Understandably senior leaders are under pressure to cut costs and optimise ROI and perhaps do not immediately understand the business impact of poor mental health. Be prepared to make the business case and have figures to back up your proposal, such as, relevant figures on staff turnover, moral and feedback from exit interviews.
When would be the most beneficial time to start the conversation to get buy-in? Using important dates to help start the conversation, for example World Mental Health Day in October or Mental Health week. However, don’t feel you have to wait for these dates, board / management meetings, staff surveys and staff absence report, although they can provide the right opportunity to broach the topic.
Did you know that those with goals are 10x more likely to succeed? Try identifying key drivers for mental health and the key indicators; define how you can measure them and what level the company should achieve. Setting these performance targets will be an integral part of achieving an effect wellbeing strategy.
Having a well-defined mental wellbeing strategy is imperative to future proofing your business. It is important to take action on mental health NOW, as it is predicted by 2030 that depression will be the most common illness and the global burden of this condition will be greater than illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Employers need to take action to prevent (safeguarding the mental health of your workforce), intervein (stepping in before problems become more serious) and protect (supporting staff if they need time off, or need help retuning to the workplace) their workforce.
Brands like the Royal Mail and Deloitte have already partnered with organisations to develop training and create peer-to-peer support networks for their staff in a bid to improve and support the mental wellbeing of their work force.
Efforts to improve mental health span further than the business world, I hope this will motivate you to take action because we can no longer simply ignore the fact that unreported, unmanaged stress increases the prevalence of mental health issues in the UK.
In October during mental health awarness week we heald one of our most successful events along slide Clive Day (Employment Lawyer), Team Mental Health and Sanctum Healthcare. The event focused on employee mental wellbeing and employers legal oblications when it comes to supporting employee mental health. 100% of attendees siad they let the event with actions they want to implement at work and 100% have agreed the event gave them further understanding into Mental Wellness in the workplace
We have plans to re-run this event in the near future. Please register your interest below.