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Mental health: Are employers doing enough?

HR professionals are increasingly aware of the importance of supporting good mental health in the workplace. As Forbury People reported recently, millions of working days are lost in the UK each year on account of stress-related illness. The annual cost to business is billions and a lot of this suffering may be avoidable.

A new report by Business in the Community (BITC) claims that many organisations fail to acknowledge and mitigate the impact that work has on their employees’ mental health.

The report surveyed 4,236 full and part-time workers across the UK regarding their experiences in the last year:

  • 39% reported experiencing poor mental health as a result of their job.
  • 36% identified working overtime and infrequently taking annual leave due to their workload as a contributing factor.
  • 35% said they felt unsupported in their role.

39% reported experiencing poor mental health as a result of their job.

The report suggests that there is a disparity between the support desired by workers and the support offered by higher management. 51% of board members believe that their companies provide effective mental health support to staff.  However, 70% of line managers reported encountering barriers when trying to provide mental health support to staff and only 41% of workers thought that their employer was doing well in supporting staff with poor mental health.

It is important for businesses to understand that their legal obligations regarding their employees’ health applies just as much to their mental health as it does to their physical well-being.  In addition to ensuring they meet these obligations, businesses should also act strategically by promoting training and other resources with the aim of improving workplace mental health.

For advice on employee health, please contact our employment team.

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This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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