‘Step change’ needed to address mental health in the workplace

Alicia Farmer
September 13, 2018

The Mental Health at Work initiative is available online which it is hoped will benefit small to medium companies who struggle to find the help.

Poor mental health affects half of all employees, according to a survey of 44,000 people carried out by the mental health charity Mind.

The survey of more than 44,000 employees also revealed that only half of those who had experienced poor mental health had talked to their employer about it, suggesting that as many as one in four United Kingdom workers is struggling in silence.

"Half the people at work are living with a mental health problem - either now or it's in the past". This results in an average of 24 days lost per worker.

The Duke of Cambridge said the initiative's mission was to create a "big shift in working culture" and ensure that dealing with mental health is a part of everyday working life.

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In a speech to launch the portal which went live on Tuesday, the duke said: "If you are a business owner, a team leader, a line manager, you work in HR, or just believe in supporting the wellbeing of your colleagues - Mental Health At Work can help".

Last year's Government-commissioned Thriving at Work report showed that as many as 300,000 people lose their job each year due to a mental health problem, and that poor mental health at work costs the United Kingdom economy between £72 billion and £99 billion.

Its launch follows Prince William's previous work for the mental health campaign Heads Together, which he launched with his brother, Prince Harry, in 2016.

Mind chief executive Paul Farmer said: "Over the last few years employers have begun to take staff wellbeing more seriously and we know that many are doing great work around mental health in the workplace". More often than not, it is the fear of losing the job, or shame that prevents them from talking about their mental health. The study noted that "up to five million workers in Britain will experience a mental health issue this year".

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