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Mental health at work
Last month the independent Stephenson-Farmer review on how employers can better support the mental health of employees was published. In total 40 recommendations were made, focusing on mental health problems and poor well-being.
The review comes at an important time when the UK faces a significant mental health challenge in the workplace. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, suggest there are currently 1.5million people in employment suffering from long term mental health issues, with 300,000 people losing their jobs each year, as a result of suffering from mental health. This contributes to a significant financial cost to employers, which is estimated to be between £33-£42 billion each year. With the most significant losses arising from: a loss of productivity, high sickness absence and staff turnover. This is in addition to the cost facing the government which ranges from £24-£27 billion each year, due to loss of tax, providing benefits and the cost facing the NHS in dealing with this crisis.
So how can employers tackle this?
The report proposes “mental health core standards”, which is a framework for actions which employers are capable of implementing quickly. Examples of these are:
- Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan
- Develop mental health awareness among employees and encourage open support
- Provide employees with good work life balance
- Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing
Some further proposals have been suggested: increasing employer transparency; and calling upon trade unions, industrial groups, professional and regulatory bodies to help implement the standards. The review recommends that all employers, regardless of their workplace type, industry or size. Begin to adopt the mental health core standards. These can all be tailored to suit your business needs and can help assist in managing mental health amongst your staff.
For those who employ over 500 members of staff, the review proposes further mental health enhanced standards:
- Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting
- Demonstrate accountability
- Improve the disclosure process
- Ensure provision of tailored in-house mental health support and signposting to clinical help