Your organisation’s success depends on creating a thriving, productive workforce.

All too often, however, the personal performance of individuals at all levels can be blunted by the inevitable demands of daily life - information overload, time constraints and constant change.

Acquiring the ability to optimise personal functioning, as well as effectively managing the mental fitness needs of others is now an essential business skill.

By investing in mental wellbeing, businesses can actually discover a new competitive advantage.

Mental ill-health is now the primary cause of long-term sickness absence for one in five UK organisations.
— CIPD Health and Wellbeing at Work, Survey Report, May 2018.

When we hear the words ‘mental health’, we often think about mental health problems. Low mood, depression or anxiety come to mind, but in fact we all have mental health. You and your colleagues all have times when your mental health is good – and times when it is less good. Just like physical health. 

1 in 6 people will experience a common mental health problem at any one time.

No-one is immune from the risk of poor mental health. At present one in four can expect to experience a mental health problem during their lifetimes; with up to 10% of the population experiencing some type of depressive or anxiety related disorder every year, with women experiencing much higher rates than men.  

Mental health problems are the leading cause of long-term sickness absence. 

Increased absence and reduced productivity can see workloads grow for other colleagues, which can exacerbate some of the root causes of poor mental health. 

“People are scared to talk about it,
but they should be scared about not talking about it”
— Prince Harry

Here are just some of the reasons why it’s important to think about your employees’ mental health. 

  • Work can cause mental health problems

  • Positive work can help people with mental health problems provide identity, income and purpose.

  • It’s good for everyone else too.

  • Employees who have high levels of wellbeing are likely to be more creative, loyal and productive.

And it’s good for business. If employees aren’t given the right support, the costs can mount up.

Build a team and engage with all areas of the business, not just HR and Health and Safety, so it doesn’t feel like imposition from above, and reflects the broader culture and experiences from the front line. Leadership input is essential and if a leader can share their personal journey with mental health challenges, it's a particularly powerful message that this really is about reducing stigma and creating sustainable change. Sometimes a bottom-up approach is the only way to gain momentum, but it's important dedicated individuals remember self-care.

Specialist Manager training is the big priority to equip them with the tools to have safe conversations around mental health and wellbeing with their teams, and confidently support a team member with mental health issues, including time off sick and return to work. Importantly help them promote positive wellbeing in the workplace and help build their own and their team's resilience.