Mental ill health is estimated to cost UK businesses £35 billion annually and is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, with 127 million hours of work lost in 2015 due to mental health-related absence – the equivalent of around 75,000 individuals losing the entire working year.
Furthermore, a major study into workplace wellbeing by Mind has revealed that poor mental health at work is widespread, with half (48 per cent) of all people surveyed saying they have experienced a mental health problem in their current job.
However, for all but the biggest corporates or businesses where the leadership is engaged with the mental wellbeing agenda, little is being done to address a clear need.
In conjunction with our charity partner, Mind, The Royal Foundation has been developing the Heads Together Workplace Wellbeing Programme, which will deliver much of the help and support recommended by the government-mandated report “Thriving at Work” (Stevenson/Farmer, October 2017).
The programme consists of two core elements:
1. An Employer Gateway – an online portal containing curated resources enabling employers to address workplace mental health constructively and proactively.
Recent research from Mind demonstrated that employers wanted to make mental health a priority, but that as many as a third didn’t know where to find the resources they needed to get started. The gateway provides easy access to resources, training and information, providing the tools needed to make workplace wellbeing a priority in any firm, no matter how big or small, and regardless of the type of industry or location.
2. Online SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) Employee Training – free online training aimed at organisations of less than 250 people to promote better mental wellbeing in the workplace, which aims to equip employees with information and training about workplace mental health so that they can better support themselves and their colleagues.
Mental Health for Small Workplaces builds staff confidence in thinking and talking about mental health. It includes three quick training modules consisting of: building your awareness, tips to look after yourself and tips to support colleagues. Each module takes 20 minutes to complete and there is also a guide alongside to help employers roll out the training successfully in their organisations.
Wherever you work, and whatever your industry, we all have mental health. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not. When it’s not, it’s important that, like Tim, Kirk, and Dawn, we all feel able to talk about it at work. Watch their stories below: