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Friday 28th October 2016

Mental health costs UK

13th December 2007

Researchers say that mental health problems are costing British businesses an average of £1,000 a year for every employee.

Nationally, the overall annual cost in terms of time off work and lost productivity stands at almost £26 billion with 70 million working days written off each year because of staff sickness.

The report by the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health says most firms vastly underestimate the problem, but they could make big savings with a few simple steps. It also makes a business case for companies to help staff with mental health problems.

The centre says companies would benefit if they recognised the problem early in their staff, encouraged their managers to be supportive and flexible, and also ensured regular contact with staff who have to take time off.

Angela Greatley, the Sainsbury Centre’s chief executive, said it was important to encourage open discussion of problems such as depression, stress and anxiety.

She said that people with a mental health problems could fear that an employer might pick on them and they may worry about what their work colleagues might say.

The Federation of Small Businesses said it was important that employers did address mental health issues, but warned it was harder for firms with fewer resources to put these policies in place.

The researchers praised BT for its approach to staff with mental health problems. At one stage the company had 500 staff off each day with mental health problems but as a result that has now fallen to 300.


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