A huge body of work has emerged since 2017, looking at workplace mental health. This was really sparked by an independent review of workplace mental health that was commissioned in 2017 by the then Prime Minister, Teresa May; and carried out by Paul Farmer and Lord Dennis Stevenson- resulting in the Thriving at Work Report.
Since that report - which includes guidance for all organisations in the form of the Thriving at Work Core Standards and Enhanced Standards - was published in 2017, there have certainly been some positive strides forward in workplace mental health and wellbeing.
There is a greater level of awareness at an organisational level, most business leaders want to do the right thing by their employees, and are aware of their legal and moral obligations.
The Covid-19 pandemic has further accelerated the movement of workplace mental health and wellbeing up the intelligent business leaders’ agenda – and it has also seriously exacerbated the problem. More people than ever before are experiencing symptoms of mental ill health and are in need of both professional help and appropriate care and support from their employer.
The human cost of mental ill health is incalculable – people’s lives are dramatically affected by mental illness - resulting in broken relationships and families, career aspirations and businesses adversely affected, financial ruin, lower life expectancy and quality of life and in some cases loss of life.
While the provision of appropriate professional mental health care and support absolutely remains the responsibility of medical professionals, business leaders do have a vital role in creating psychologically safe working conditions for their employees.
People spend a lot of time at work and the right working conditions can contribute significantly to good mental health and wellbeing. Having rewarding and fulfilling work can be a powerful protective factor against poor mental health. For those living with mental illness or experiencing the symptoms of mental ill health, having the right support in place at work can be a huge contributor to recovery and wellness.
For leaders of businesses the message is very clear – organisational mental health and wellbeing is not just a nice thing to do – it is essential to your business and should be aligned with your overall business strategy.
What is also very clear is how strong a financial business case there is, for every business, to invest (sensibly) in organisational mental health and wellbeing.
One important piece of work – the Deloitte ‘Mental Health and Employers’ Report has consistently and very clearly demonstrated the business case for (wise) investment in organisational mental health and wellbeing. The third edition - the Deloitte ‘Mental Health and Employers’: The case for investment, pandemic and beyond – was published April 2022.
The new report states that the cost of mental ill health to UK businesses is now at a record £53-56 billion per year – a massive increase since 2020. In the UK, since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a general deterioration of mental health and wellbeing. Things are not quite as bad now as they were at their lowest point November 2020-January 2021 however the experience of mental health is generally worse now that it was pre pandemic – and this is having a huge impact on individuals’ lives and has enormous cost implications for businesses.
Deloitte’s updated analysis of return on investment continues to support the case for employers to invest in the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. And the investment needs to be strategic and meaningful.
You can read the full report here: https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/consulting/articles/mental-health-and-employers-the-case-for-investment.html
How businesses invest in the mental health of employees will shape how successfully any business emerges from the pandemic, and the business case for proactive action vs reactive action is very strong indeed.
Contact our team HERE to arrange a FREE organisational mental health and wellbeing review.