Report suggests 300,000 people in the UK lose jobs each year due to poor mental health

An independent review into workplace mental health commissioned by the Prime Minister has suggested that 300,000 people in the UK lose jobs each year due to poor mental health.

The Thriving at Work review looks at how employers can better support all employees including those with poor mental health or wellbeing remain in and thrive at work.

Analysis by Deloitte commissioned by the reviewers also reveals a demonstrable cost to employers, and quantifies for the first time how investing in supporting mental health at work is good for business and productivity.

The report suggests that poor mental health costs the UK economy between £74 billion and £99 billion a year. Deloitte’s analysis shows that the cost to employers is between £33 billion and £42 billion of this number. Evaluations of workplace interventions show a return to business of between £1.50 and £9 for every £1 invested.

Drawing on the accounts of over 200 employers of people with mental health problems and leading experts in mental health and work, Thriving at Work sets out core principles and standards that all employers should commit to. It highlights examples of some employers who are taking positive and innovative steps to support the mental health of their employees.

The reviewers are calling on all employers, regardless of size or industry, to adopt six ‘mental health core standards’ that lay the basic foundations for an approach to workplace mental health. These cover mental health at work plans, mental health awareness for employees, line management responsibilities and routine monitoring of staff mental health and wellbeing. Large employers and the public sector are expected to go even further, demonstrating best practice through external reporting and designated leadership responsibility.

The full report can be viewed on the website.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “We found that in many workplaces, mental health is still a taboo subject and that opportunities are missed to prevent poor mental health and ensure employees who may be struggling get the support they need. In many instances employers simply don’t understand the crucial role they can play, or know where to go for advice and support.

“The human cost of failing to address mental health in the workplace is clear. Workplace mental health should be a priority for organisations across the UK. Every employer in the UK has a responsibility to support employees with mental health problems and promote the mental wellbeing of their entire workforce.”

The review took account of Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index. The Index is a benchmark of best policy and practice around mental health. It celebrates the good work employers are doing to promote and support positive mental health, and provides key recommendations on the specific areas where there is room to improve. Participating organisations undertake staff and employer surveys to help assess where the gaps lie between the organisation’s approach to workplace wellbeing and staff perceptions.

30 organisations took part in the first Index, with 15,000 of their employees completing the staff survey. Mind has today published its first report into the findings of the survey.