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Mental health - need to know

7 things you need to know about mental health in the workplace

24 Jul 2017

Stressed woman sitting at desk

To quote the old ad slogan, ‘it’s good to talk’. However, as these facts reveal, many Brits suffering with a mental health issue would rather not discuss it with their boss for fear of the perceived consequences and the stigma attached. And the number of people trying to cope with those problems could be set to increase…

1. We need to talk about mental health

A BBC Radio 5 survey published in May 2017 revealed that almost half (49%) of British adults in full-time work say they would be reluctant to talk to their boss about problems such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder. Only 35% of respondents said they would be happy to tell their colleagues if they were struggling with such issues.

2. Our survey said…

In June 2016, the IoD set out to understand what its Policy Voice members knew about mental health in the workplace and how it can impact upon their business. The findings revealed that just 14% of members have a formal mental health policy in place and fewer than one in five offer line management training.

3. The knock-on effect

Nearly 90% of those who took part in the IoD survey agreed that poor mental health could have a detrimental effect on both quality of work and decision-making. Over 77% believed it lead to conflicts at work and 63% said it could also result in a higher turnover of staff.

4. We can’t sleep on it

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) has stated that more than six in 10 of the UK’s working population report that they’ve been kept awake at night by stress, leaving them unable to perform their duties as well as they might. 

5. A return on your investment

MIND, the mental health charity, has calculated that personalised information and advice, a risk-assessment questionnaire, seminars, workshops and web-based materials cost approximately £80 per employee per year. For a company with 500 employees, where all employees undergo the intervention, it is estimated that an initial investment of £40,000 will result in a net return of £347,722 in savings, mainly due to reduced presenteeism (lost productivity that occurs due to an employee working while ill) and absenteeism (missing work due to ill health).

6. Many of us will work with somebody who has had a mental health issue

One in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year. In fact, every week around 6.5m adults in the UK will suffer from a common mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression. 

7.  We’re stressed out

A survey carried out by MIND in 2016 revealed that 14 per cent of respondents resigned from their job because of stress caused by work. A further 42 per cent had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them. 


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

Contact Press office