Mental Health in the Workplace

World Mental Health Day is upon us once more, and this year’s theme is all about the workplace.

The financial cost of mental illnesses in the UK is massive, as you can see from the figures in the above infographic, costing an estimated £70 billion annually in lost productivity, benefits, and health care.

Such figures highlight just how important addressing mental health conditions is to the welfare of the country. 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year, yet many people with anxiety, depression, and other mental conditions still don’t have the confidence to be open about it, and seek the required professional help.

How employers can help

More companies are realising that it in their interest to support employees with mental health conditions, and create an environment where people feel comfortable talking about such issues. After all, ‘presenteeism,’ whereby people continue to work despite their illness, and are less productive as a result, is estimated to be 1.5 times costlier than absenteeism. Those who take time off to address their mental health are more beneficial to the company, yet it’s estimated that two-thirds of cases go untreated. Companies who take a holistic approach to mental illness, and actively encourage their employees to be open and honest about it, will have a happier and more productive workforce.

Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index recognises companies who have taken such measures, with the Environment Agency coming out as the top performers in this year’s inaugural awards. Such initiatives, combined with World Mental Health Day focusing on the workplace, will hopefully encourage more companies to be proactive in improving their mental health practices.

Help your colleagues

If you work for even a modest-sized company, there’s a good chance at least one of your colleagues lives with a mental health condition. Many people keep quiet for fear of the stigma associated with such conditions, and that their colleagues may look at them differently once aware of their illness. By not shying away from the topic of mental health, you can do your small part in creating an environment in which those in need of help feel comfortable seeking it.

In order to effectively tackle mental health conditions, those in need of medical help must have the confidence to access it. The UK has come a long way in changing the negative stigma, but there is clearly progress to be made. Once it is, the human and financial benefits are clear for all to see.

This infographic was produced by MyTherapy (available for iOS and Android).

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