The True Cost of Poor Workplace Mental Health.

and some good practices for business (a 4 minute read with links in blue)

In recent years there has been a growing awareness of the impact of poor mental health on business performance and the toll it is taking on many lives. Many of us though might not be fully aware of just what that means to the bottom line of our business.

Amongst the plethora of published articles we found concerning statistics that highlighted the need for proactive intervention. That’s what’s inspired us to launch a new social enterprise, Mind Over Mountains.

In 2017 the Centre for Mental Health reported that poor mental health costs UK business £34.9 billion a year – £1300 for every worker.  This has risen 35% in just 10 years and excludes the cost to wider society. Furthermore the Mental Health Foundation found:

  • Almost 15% of people experience mental health problems in the workplace.
  • 12.7% of all sickness absence days taken in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.
  • Better mental health support in the workplace could save UK businesses up to £8 billion a year.

The Department of Health also reported back in 2011 that the overall cost to society was £105 billion per annum. Poor mental health is now the largest cause of disability in the UK, 43% more than even cancer or cardiovascular disease amounting to a 4% hit to GDP.

We think this is just the tip of the iceberg. The numbers we found did not factor in the hidden cost for colleagues and teams shouldering the burden of stress, depression, anxiety or even deeper issues when they surface at work.

Presenteeism, attending work whilst ill and working at reduced productivity, is another factor that places even more emphasis on the practical and emotional support of colleagues. Deloitte estimate presenteeism to cost UK business an additional £11 – £19 billion per annum. Over the last decade absentee days have been decreasing but presenteeism and absenteeism due to mental health issues have been increasing.

Poor mental health is a systemic issue with multifaceted, complex causes that conspire together to knock resilience and wellbeing. Should business be investing in mental health especially when so many causes are societal? The simple truth is that promoting mental well-being combined with providing practical tools to support resilience and an ethos that removes the stigma of mental health can present a sound investment.

Improved well-being and resilience against adversity and mental ill health impact across a broad range of areas and will have significant economic benefits to your business. 

So what can practically be done?” There are opportunities for employers to achieve better returns on investment by providing more interventions at organisational culture and proactive stages enabling employees to thrive, rather than intervening at very late stages. ” Deloitte 2018

Put simply there is a compelling case for investing proactively in prevention, resilience and early intervention. Again Deloitte in their excellent white paper point to a scale of returns:
9:1 ROI on an enterprise wide approach
6:1 ROI on specific proactive interventions
5:1 ROI for reactive interventions
Here lies a compelling motivation for devising, managing and monitoring effective strategies. Good mental health is about feeling good about your life and being able to cope with problems when they happen. We’ve devised a set of useful interventions that can form part of an effective approach to mental health in the workplace.

“A growing and compelling body of research is proving that exercising and mindfulness in nature with peer support is a vital component for improving mental wellbeing” Mind

Mind Over Mountains

We are passionate about making mental well-being tools accessible for anyone who needs them. We’ve specifically designed Mind Over Mountains as a cost effective and proactive intervention within your overall Mental Health Strategy.

We provide short, impactful residential interventions in stunning mountain locations where we make available practical tools, professional counselling and a process of peer support. It’s an unrivalled way to help reset those starting to find life knocking them off balance. This translates to the bottom line of the work they do for you. 

It’s increasingly clear to all of us that employees who are equipped with tools to be more resilient and have agency over their situation are more productive and have more energy and positivity. Employees who feel fulfilled are more engaged in the business, less sick and ultimately more likely to stay with you. 

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Many employees may not have access or the incentive to the discretionary spend of making an investment in their personal wellbeing. We also recognise that budgets are tight for all businesses at present. Mind Over Mountainsis funded in a unique way, enabling anyone or any business to access this vital service. As a not for profit our mission is to provide evidence based and fully accessible programmes delivered by experts.

Being a social enterprise means we can offer this at a low price where all surpluses will be ploughed back into the ongoing development of the organisation. We are seeking true partnerships where a modest investment can sustain a very broad impact on mental health. We’d love to engage with you about how we can support your business. Please feel free to contact us for a no obligation discussion about partnership as we begin this exciting journey towards better mental health for our biggest asset – our people.

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