Employee Mental Health Focus Matters for Workplace

As Mental Health Awareness Month approaches its close, this marks another good time to consider the connections to a well-run workplace wellness program.

Occupational Health & Wellbeing published a new post: “Mental health first aid: 10 reasons every employer should invest in mental health.” The piece cites Poppy Jaman, CEO of MHFA England, who “gives her top 10 reasons why all employers should consider investing in employee mental health.” (Note: Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) came to England in 2007 and was developed and launched under the Department of Health: National Institute of Mental Health in England (NIMHE) as part of a national approach to improving public mental health.”

While these data largely come from the UK, they’re important for U.S. employers to note. They include:

  • Retain skills through a reduction in staff turnover. Almost one-third (31%) of UK employees said they would consider leaving their current role within the next 12 months if stress levels in their organisation did not improve.”
  • Cut sickness absence. Mental health issues, such as stress, depression and anxiety, account for almost 70 million days off sick per year – the most of any health condition – costing the UK economy between £70 billion and £100 billion per year.”
  • Reduce presenteeism. The annual cost of mental ill-health-related presenteeism – people coming to work and underperforming due to ill health – is £15.1 billion, or £605 per employee in the UK.”
  • Ensure a healthier workplace. On average, employees take seven days off work a year for health reasons, and it is estimated that mental health problems account for 40% of this figure, however, up to 90% of staff feel unable to be honest about this being the reason for their absence.”
  • Increase engagement and commitment among staff. ‘Supporting mental health in the workplace is not just a corporate responsibility; staff who have positive mental health are more productive, and businesses that promote a progressive approach to mental health can see a significant impact on business performance, so it’s about good business too,’ says Dr Justin Varney, national lead for adult health and wellbeing at Public Health England.”