Wellbeing has once again come into sharp focus in the UK, following the publication of new Labour Force Survey statistics.

A reported 30 million work days have been lost as a result of employment-related stress, depression and anxiety between 2013 and 2015, costing the economy a staggering £2.4 billion a year.

The chief executive of charity Anxiety UK is said to believe there are also a number of people still suffering in silence in the workplace, which won’t have even been included in the figures above. If they were, the magnitude of the findings could be even more severe.

The research has prompted talk of a national health crisis, underpinned by a number of factors.

Cascade’s HR manager Donna Larvin explains: “There is perhaps still a taboo surrounding the subject of mental health, which needs to be rapidly overcome if we are to protect the livelihood of our workforce. The scale of these figures will hopefully give managers and business owners a sharp shock – poor wellbeing levels prove very costly to productivity, retention, morale and profitability, and many organisations won’t survive the strain for long. But better supporting our employees isn’t just good for the state of the economy – it is also inherently the right thing to do. We cannot ignore our duty of care.”

This goes some way to explaining why the topic of wellbeing and absence levels was a key focus in a recent Cascade webinar and white paper. Employers can do more to help prevent their staff from experiencing the symptoms associated with stress, anxiety and depression, and the time to act is now.

There have also been calls for the Government to invest more in mental health services, so that individuals get the support they need, when they need it most. And it has been said that employees can take more proactive steps to safeguard their wellbeing levels too, including taking a proper lunch break, tackling tasks methodically and reflecting on achievements, however small, at the end of each day.

Donna continues: “We all have a role to play in promoting stronger mental health.

“In a New Day article about the research findings, one of the wellbeing tips for employees was to ensure they take a holiday. Such rest and recuperation is an essential way for the workforce to avoid burnout, whether they venture far or simply have a few days off to recharge. It’s therefore more crucial than ever for businesses to ensure they’re ‘holiday pay ready’.  With so much legislative development when it comes to average holiday pay calculations, compliance may be a concern for some organisations.”

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