Report finds that 300,000 people lose their jobs every year, due to mental health.
A review commissioned by the government this year has found that 300,000 people lose their jobs every year due to mental health problems, costing the UK economy £99bn. It's essential that employers actively support employees' mental health. This number is a shocking 50% higher than job loss caused by physical conditions.
The review also suggested that mental health is still a 'taboo' in many workplaces, resulting in a lose-lose situation for both employee and employer. Employees uncomfortable with being open and honest about mental health issues can result in absenteeism for the company as well as damage to the employee's wellbeing.
The report outlined some suggestions for employers to help maintain their employees and tackle this ongoing problem.
- Build mental health awareness by making information and support accessible
- Encourage open conversations
- Provide good working conditions and ensure employees have a healthy work-life balance
- Promote effective people management, with line managers holding regular conversations about health and well-being with their staff
- Routinely monitor employee mental health
Employees' line managers are usually the first people to notice if the mood of their employee has changed or if they appear to be struggling. Ensuring managers receive the right level of education and training to understand and support those in their workforce with mental health issues is imperative.
Pam Whelan, Director of Corporate at Simplyhealth says:
"Mr. Farmer (co-author of the Thriving at Work report) hit the nail on the head when he said that opportunities have been missed to prevent poor mental health in the workplace. Prevention is always better than cure. In 2017, with an ageing population and employees facing greater pressures in and out of work, it's clear why mental health is one of the biggest causes of long term illness and in turn, absenteeism. Introducing a health and wellbeing benefit is a valuable support tool to both employer and employee, encouraging an open and honest relationship, and giving the employee as much reassurance as possible at a very difficult time."
Health and wellbeing benefits often provide a value for money approach which helps you to support your employees' health and wellbeing as a whole. As an example, Simplyhealth's myWellbeing portal provides access to a counselling and practical information helpline 24/7 a fantastic tool to support colleagues battling mental health problems, even if they don't know they're struggling.
The fact that an independent service can be offered could provide employees with additional confidence to discuss the issues that they face outside the working environment. This allows employers and their line managers to provide support even if the employee is not willing to talk to them directly.
To find out more about Simplyhealth's myWellbeing platform, and other ways we can support your employees health and wellbeing, visit simplyhealth.co.uk/businesses, email [email protected] or call 0300 100 1188.