Mental health is one of the biggest people issues that businesses face today, with one in six employees experiencing a mental health issue. Recent Bupa research shows that for almost a third (29%) of UK businesses, mental health is now a bigger issue among employees than physical illnesses.
Although mental health is more openly spoken about now in the workplace, more can be done to help create an environment where all people are confident discussing mental health without being discriminated against.
Line managers need to be leading the way in influencing workplace culture, yet many do not know how best to support employees or feel empowered to discuss mental health.
Two in five people managers admit that awareness and understanding of mental health issues is low priority across their organisation, which is a barrier to removing any stigma around mental health and limits access to the right treatment as soon as possible.
An important way of raising awareness about mental health issues and increasing the support available for those affected is by providing access to Mental Health First Aid training, delivered by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England. The program teaches people how to help a person that is experiencing mental ill health and signpost them to the next level of support.
A Mental Health First Aider is trained to offer basic support to help someone showing signs of mental ill health, with early detection increasing the success of treatment.
Through insurance employers can make it easier for people to seek access to treatment by enabling people to book an appointment with a mental health specialist without having to wait for a GP referral.
Bupa announced it was extending its mental health cover for businesses earlier this year after it was revealed that mental health claims have doubled in the last 10 years.
Approximately 743,000 employees in the UK took long-term absence during the last year, due to mental health issues. A recent government review has shown that poor mental health costs employers between £33bn and £42bn a year.
You can help lead positive change in how all of us are supported in the workplace by backing the national ‘Where’s Your Head At?’ campaign, which seeks to change health and safety law so it protects mental health in the same way as physical health.
Effective signposting and quick access to mental health provision in the workplace can make a real difference to the millions of working age people who experience mental health issues every year. This will help to create a more resilient workforce and businesses that thrive because their people do too.
To sign the ‘Where’s Your Head At?’ petition and find out more, visit:www.wheresyourheadat.org.
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