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Businesses Told Itís Time To Tackle The Stigma of Mental Health

Although 1 in 4 people will personally experience a mental health condition during their lifetime, over half are too embarrassed to tell their employer about their illness.

Mental illness is the fastest growing cause of sick leave and the economic cost is substantial - some 13 million working days are lost in the UK every year due to stress, depression, and anxiety. The annual cost to businesses is estimated to be around £3billion.

This week the Work and Pensions Minister, Lord McKenzie, and Health Minister Ivan Lewis called on businesses to tackle the stigma attached to mental health conditions in the workplace, and launched a practical managers’ guide containing advice on how to support their staff.

Lord McKenzie said:

“Businesses must stop burying their heads in the sand. The pressures of today’s global economy mean that we will all encounter mental ill health at work; whether in ourselves or a colleague. The personal and business costs of ignoring these issues are immense and can no longer be ignored.

“But there is still a taboo on talking about mental illness at work. Fear and ignorance are the biggest barriers which stop this being brought out into the open. Many people are scared of telling their employer about their condition. And employers perhaps don’t know how to handle and so avoid addressing these issues. Legislation offers protection and we will do all we can to support businesses, but we recognise that it is the managers at the coalface who make the real difference. We know there has been a shortage of information and advice about how to handle mental illness at work, which is why we have today launched this managers’ handbook.

“Employers must recognise the need and benefit of facing-up to their responsibility to support their staff, or face ever increasing sick leave and loss of talent. I now call on businesses to haul this problem into the open; to connect with their staff, and hammer home to their company the benefits of addressing these issues; increased engagement and productivity, retention of talent, and reduced sick leave and recruitment costs. Investment in this area

 

Posted by, Asif Yusuf

 

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