Mental ill health costs Welsh employers over £292m

According to employment charity Shaw Trust, more than 3.3 million sick days in Wales are caused by mental health problems.

But the charity also claims that many employers don’t recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and is urging companies to take greater care of the mental health of their staff.

Tim Cooper, Managing Director of the Shaw Trust, said, “Around £292m is being lost to the economy of Wales every year. Worryingly, because employers often don’t understand how to recognise mental health problems, the true figures often aren’t recorded.

“Businesses are putting their bottom line in danger, not only by losing valuable workers, but also by putting themselves at risk of costly lawsuits”.

This comes as the UK Government launches a three year initiative called “Action on Stigma”, which lays out voluntary standards encouraging employers to improve the way they deal with mental ill health in the workplace.

It is believed that up to 90% of people with a mental health problem actually want to work, compared with only 52% of disabled people generally.

But employers are less likely to employ people with a mental illness than those with physical ailments. Just 20% of people with a severe mental illness have jobs, compared with 65% of those with a physical ailment, and 75% for the whole adult population. Even amongst those with more common forms of mental illness like depression, only half are employed.

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