Workplace pressure contributes to mental health issues for the majority of business leaders, according to the IoD. We asked unLTD contributors what business leaders can do to address the problem – for their staff and for themselves.
Work is important to our wellbeing – it is a primary determinant of our health, for our business leaders, staff, families and our communities.
‘Good work’ can have a positive impact on our health. In my view, ‘good jobs’ are paid fairly, are in a safe and healthy workplace, have regular hours and the opportunity to learn and progress at work.
We know that this is not always the case and that job insecurity, heavy workloads and unsafe workplaces, a work-life imbalance and a feeling of lack of control can have a significant negative impact on our mental health.
There is a clear return on investment for employers to improve the health of their workforce.
It is estimated that the cost of poor mental health to local employers is as much as £420 million a year resulting from people who are less productive due to poor mental health in work, sickness absence and staff turnover.
This is a national issue, mental health conditions are a leading cause of sickness absences in the UK. One in six people have a diagnosed mental health condition and many more maybe feeling the pressures of stress, anxiety and depression.
Despite this prevalence, a recent mental health at work report ‘Business in the Community’, highlights that only 11 per cent of employees discuss mental health problems with their line manager and only 24 per cent of managers have received some form of training on mental health at work.
This is a priority for the city. In order to assist employers there are a number of services employers and individuals can access. Be Well at Work is a free service which helps employers to identify priorities to improve employee health and wellbeing and provides them with access to a suite of information, resources and training.
South Yorkshire is one of only two locations in the country which is running a health led employment trial with the NHS – Working Win www.workingwin.com). This is available for individuals both in and out of work, and they will receive up to 12 months of face-to-face support. It provides free mental health awareness training for employers in the form of workshops and workplace training.
Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service (SOHAS), works closely with a wide range of employers all of all sizes and sectors to support employees with mental health conditions back to work and ensure that the return is a sustainable one.
Tackling mental health is not just a workplace issue – it’s an economic and social issue, as half of all people on out of work benefits are experiencing mental health conditions. It is one of the biggest barriers to work. It doesn’t discriminate – it affects men and women and every age group.
This is an issue of increasing importance, to individuals, businesses, healthcare providers and policy makers. We need to work together not only to raise awareness about this critical issue but to collaborate on long term solutions.