Employers across the UK are failing to provide adequate support to employees or equip managers with the skills to help them. More than three quarters (77 per cent) of employees have experienced symptoms of poor mental health in their lives and when experiencing their most recent symptoms of poor mental health, just 11 per cent of employees discussed this with their line manager.
These are just some of the findings from the Mental Health at Work report released this week by Business in the Community, in collaboration with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England and others, which shines a light on the issue of mental health in the workplace.
While all workplaces must have a physical first aider, looking after employee mental health at work is becoming an increasing priority. Mental health issues such as stress, depression or anxiety account for people taking almost 70 million days off sick per year – the most of any health condition – costing the UK economy between £70bn and £100bn a year.
Mental Health First Aid is the mental health equivalent of a physical first aid course, teaching the skills and confidence to support a person who may be experiencing a mental health issue.
Poppy Jaman, CEO, MHFA England said, ‘We need a culture change in our workplaces. We will only make headway when employers value mental health as they do physical health. Mental Health First Aid is a key part of the solution which is why we are calling on the government to amend current legislation that requires employers to train staff in physical first aid, to include mental health first aid.’
For more guidance around how to approach and respond to a colleague who is experiencing a mental health issue download the free Line Managers Resource at: mhfaengland.org/workplace/line-managers-resource/
To find out how employers can support the wellbeing of their staff and demonstrate their commitment to World Mental Health Day, visit mhfaengland.org and download the free MHFA England Take 10 Together toolkit.