Skip to main content
Become a member


Mental health - need to know

7 stats about mental health and the UK economy

24 Jul 2017

calendar glasses and medication on a desk

Mental health is not just a moral issue, but a business issue too.

The IoD is committed to raising awareness of mental health issues in the workplace, with a particular focus on opening up the conversation for small and medium-sized businesses, which often lack the resources of larger corporate organisations to address their employees’ mental health.

In March of this year, we published a major report, which examined how UK PLC was addressing the issue of mental health at work.

But if you’re still in any doubt about the impact of mental health at work upon British business, here are 7 stats that will change your mind…


15.8 million – The number of work hours that are lost each year because of mental health issues including stress, depression, anxiety as well as more serious conditions such as manic depression and schizophrenia. This makes up 11.5% of the total number of sick days for 2016 according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

25% - The year on year increase of the number of days taken off work because of mental health issues.

500,000 – Last year, over half a million Brits suffered from stress at work, resulting in an average of 24 days lost per worker at a cost of more than £5billion. Professor Sir Cary L Cooper is a renowned psychologist who lectures at Manchester Business School. He believes that the uncertainties surrounding Britain’s departure from the EU will cause that figure to rise. Cooper recently said, “My fear is that bill will grow substantially during the next two years or longer, both direct costs and indirectly in terms of significantly lower productivity per worker.”

21% - In a recent survey carried out by MIND, more than one in five UK workers called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them.

£226bn – Research from the Mental Health Foundation estimates that the output of people with common mental health problems in the workplace is nine times (or £25bn) more than the cost of mental health problems to economic output. That output is equal to 12.1% of Britain’s GDP.

15.9% - The percentage of the UK working population in 2015 that had mental health problems.

4.5% – The economic burden of poor mental health upon the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Increasing awareness of mental health across the business community could therefore play a key role in addressing Britain’s ‘productivity puzzle’. 


Mental health in the workplace

The IoD is committed to raising awareness of mental health issues in the workplace, with a particular focus on opening up the conversation for small- and medium-sized businesses. We have created a hub packed full of helpful advice, best practice and useful resources, as well as shared experiences from business leaders.

Go to IoD mental health hub