I read with interest that the Institute for Public Policy Research suggests businesses in the UK are not doing enough to address the problem of people leaving work and moving onto sickness benefits, and that the biggest rise is from people claiming benefits because of a mental health condition. They recommend greater obligations on employers to support employees to stay in work, and greater financial liabilities if they fail to do so!

This is on top of some quite incredible facts and figures that my own research with colleagues and partners has surfaced, which continue to surround mental health in the workplace with a negative and problematic narrative.

Instead of focusing on leveraging the capability that mental difference brings to positively influence business and UK Plc productivity, as a nation we seem to always lead on the downside.

Here are just some of the statistics you can find when researching the subject. As you can see the majority are not designed to put a smile on the face!

All are attributed to credible Government, Charity and Research Business sources:

  • One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
  • Workers with mental health issues contribute £226bn to the UK economy (Yey, a positive one!!!!!)
  • Mental ill-health, including stress, depression and anxiety, is thought to be responsible for 91 million lost working days each year, more than for any other illness.
  • Mental health problems cost employers in the UK £30 billion a year through lost production, recruitment and absence.
  • Mental illness is estimated to cost the UK economy as much as £100bn a year in terms of healthcare, lost jobs, unemployment benefits, homelessness support, police time and prisoner places.
  • 800,000 people are currently signed off sick from work and claiming disability benefits for mental health issues.
  • In 2015/16 stress accounted for 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost
    due to ill health.

I, and many others, are on a mission to break down the stigma associated with mental ill-health and encourage more to be done to support mental wellbeing in business. To do so we need to change the language to a more positive one and celebrate the achievements of those in organisations that deliver greatness, as a consequence of their difference!

Using a positive language via personal story telling and celebrating achievement, workforce’s embrace the subject faster, engage heavily and achieve so much more together.

If you are happy to share your views in the comments below or in the Mental Health in Business LinkedIn Group, I would love to hear from you.

All the best.

Colin – Founder, Mental Health in Business