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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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News: Govt launches 3-step mental health plan to save employers £10bn


Ministers have called on employers to take three steps to boost the mental health of their workers in a bid to save the UK economy £30 billion per year in lost productivity.

Mental ill health such as depression and anxiety costs UK business more than £1,000 per employee each year, mainly in lost production as a result of staff being off work or underperforming while there.
One in six employees is currently estimated to have mental health problems, which equates to around five million of the country’s 29 million workers, but a 2010 survey revealed that only 28% of workplaces have a formal mental health policy in place.
As a result, deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, and care services minister, Paul Burstow, yesterday called on employers to take action.
At the launch of their initiative, Clegg said: “Seventy million working days are lost as a result of mental health issues every year, costing businesses £1,000 every year for each employee. Managing mental health at work well can save around 30% of these costs – businesses cannot afford not to take mental health seriously.”
The first step was to sign up to the government’s ongoing Time to Change campaign, to which it has just added funding of an extra £16 million, he added. By signing up, organisations made a public commitment to end mental health discrimination and receive support from campaign experts.
Another recommendation was to have employers either appoint a staff member to act as a mental health expert or train a number of people to become more aware of the issues involved. The aim was to mirror the First Aid training provided by most companies in order to tackle physical health matters among their workforce, the ministers said.
The third step, meanwhile, was to take advantage of the Health for Work Adviceline, which provides occupational health and well-being support for small-to-medium-sized employers in England only on 0800 077 88 44.
The scheme was devised by five of the UK’s biggest mental health organisations – Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, Turning Point, Centre for Mental Health and the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network – in partnership with the government.
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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