Thriving at work, the Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers was launched today. The prime minister set the task of carrying out an independent review of how employers can support employees including those with mental ill health or poor well being to stay and thrive in work
“Employers are losing billions because employees are less productive, less effective, or off sick”.
The research found examples of good practise and recommends a number of mental health core standards that can be adopted across all workplaces at little or no cost.
The vision is that in ten years time:
- Employees in all types of employment will have “good work”, which contributes positively to their mental health, our society and our economy.
- Every one of us will have the knowledge, tools and confidence, to understand and look after our own mental health and the mental health of those around us;
- All organisations, whatever their size, will be:
- equipped with the awareness and tools to not only address but prevent mental ill- health caused or worsened by work;
- equipped to support individuals with a mental health condition to thrive, from recruitment and throughout the organisation;
- aware of how to get access to timely help to reduce sickness absence caused by mental ill health;
- We dramatically reduce the proportion of people with a long term mental health condition who leave employment each year and ensure that all, who can, benefit from the positive impacts of good work.
“If the UK prioritises mental health at work, we can become global leaders in reducing stigma, improving the mental health of the population and support for those who need it, and in the process improve the UK’s productivity. “
It should come as no surprise to most that the UK faces a significant mental health challenge at work, we see and hear more reports of the impact and challenges faced. Work is happening to promote awareness of mental health and reduce the stigma, the report strongly recommends employers increase transparency internally, across industries and in the public domain
The report found that whilst there are more people in work with mental health conditions than ever before, 300,000 people with a long term mental health problem lose their jobs each year, at a much higher rate than those with physical health conditions
Analysis from the report shows that around 15% of people at work have symptoms of an existing mental health condition. The impact on people is huge, poor mental health manifests itself both in work, at home and on the lives of those around.
- Annual cost to employers of between £33 billion and £42 billion
- Cost to government is between £24 billion and £27 billion
- Cost to the economy of between £74 billion and £99 billion per year
Stevenson and Farmer highlight research by Deloitte which suggests that where investments have been made in improving mental health a consistently positive return on investment is shown.
The report takes the position that the correct way to view mental health is that we all have it and we fluctuate between thriving, struggling and being ill and possibly off work. An individual can have a serious mental health problem – but – with the right support – can still be thriving at work.
Mental Health core standards, creating a framework that all organisations in the country implement:
- Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan;
- Develop mental health awareness among employees;
- Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling;
- Provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development;
- Promote effective people management through line managers and supervisors;
- Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.
- Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting
- Demonstrate accountability
- Improve the disclosure process
- Ensure provision of tailored in-house mental health support and signposting to clinical help
Three factors will support the implantation of these standards.
- Increasing employer transparency presents the biggest opportunity to encourage a greater breadth and depth of employer action on mental health, and strong leadership is vital to ensuring this change is felt throughout organisations. Employer action on mental health is intrinsically measurable. Increased transparency will go a long way to generating a culture of measurement and will enable the development of voluntary ranking schemes to help drive accountability and further improvement.
- While we believe that it is clearly in
the interests of all businesses and organisations to implement these mental health core and enhanced standards, we are calling on trade unions, industry groups, professional and regulatory bodies to help with the implementation of these standards.
- Digital tools and products are an enabler of change and there is a significant opportunity for low cost, scalable interventions in workplaces. We are witnessing an explosion of such technology and it is vital that there is a firm evidence base that is accessible for employers and employees.
The report goes further in defining the role of public and of government in making this a reality, we encourage you to download the report and read more about the role we can all take in improving mental health.