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Keeping Mental Health a Top Priority

Mental Health – the top priority

Research undertaken by Deloitte concluded that ‘poor mental health among employees costs UK employers £42bn– £45bn each year. This is made up of absence costs of around £7bn, presenteeism costs ranging from about £27bn to £29bn and turnover costs of around £9bn. This is an increase of about 6bn and 16% on the figures in our 2017 report’ (Hampson & Jacob, 2020). 

The figures from the ‘Mental health and employers – Refreshing the case for investment’ report published by Deloitte suggest that mental health should be a crucial priority for businesses across the UK. While many small to medium sized business may believe they lack the recourse to invest in to mental health initiatives – the cost of living crisis does not aid this – the return on investment far outweighs the cost.

‘The results of our updated return on investment (ROI) analysis show a complex but positive case for employers to invest in the mental health of their employees, with a return of £5 for every £1 spent (5:1)’ (Hampson & Jacob, 2020). 

Your Company’s Mental Health Strategy

Organisations should take a strategic approach to mental health. The Charted Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in their ‘Supporting mental health at work: Guide for people managers’ provide recommendations that all organisations should – tailored to their own needs – implement. 

Health Questionnaires: Employers should provide all new recruits, ensuring not to single anyone out, with a health questionnaire; emphasising that the purpose of the questionnaire is to determine whether new staff have any health issues that, without support, could affect their ability to fulfil their duties or place them at any risk. Questionnaires should not be intrusive or inappropriate. Once questionnaire are completed, line managers should be quick to understand any raised health conditions and work with individuals to identity reasonable adjustments. 

Good Induction: Starting a new role can be unsettling for individuals; without a good induction staff’s confidence may be undermined, and could trigger new or exacerbate existing problems. The benefits of a good induction ‘include reducing turnover and absenteeism, and increasing employee commitment and job satisfaction’ (McCartney, 2022).

A good induction should consist of:  

  • orientation (organisational) – how the employee fits into the team and how their role fits with the organisation’s strategy and goals 
  • one-to-one meeting(s) between the new starter and their line manager 
  • meetings with other key employees (either face-to-face or online) 
  • an awareness of other functions within the organisation 
  • health and safety information (this is a legal requirement) 
  • explanation of terms and conditions, as well as pay and benefits. 
  • details of the organisation’s history, its products and services, its culture, and values 
  • a clear outline of the job/role requirements and expectations 
  • health and wellbeing initiatives provided by the employer. 
  • information about ways of working, for example flexitime, home working  

Positive Management Culture: An organisation’s culture is defined and created by the senior leaders; it is important that all senior leaders are ‘onboard’ with mental health strategies and keep it a top priority. Their championing of mental health will aid in influencing the business as a whole. In turn, line managers ought to be clear on the link between strategic objectives of the organisation, and their day-to-day people management. Employers can create a positive culture by leading by example, normalising mental health, being available for staff, treating people as individuals, create opportunities for learning and development and promote positive work relationships.  

Early Intervention: It is important to note that despite preventative measures, some individuals will experience poor mental health. The CIPD highlight that ‘spotting the signs of stress or poor mental health at an early stage means managers can hopefully nip problems in the bud before they escalate into a crisis or sickness absence’. Figure 1 below illustrates indicators (not exhaustive) of poor mental health – ‘if one or more signs are identified it should not be assumed that the employee has a mental health problem’, instead employers should be mindful to have a friendly discussion with them.  

 Figure 1: Indicators of poor mental health 

Mental Health is more than a campaign

Instead of advocating for mental health for one week a year, it is clear to see that mental health should be a high priority for employers but also a part of the overarching business strategy. The strategy should be championed by senior leaders and trickled down to line managers and in turn individual objectives and aims. The CIPD’s suggestions, if implemented, will help organisations to prevent or mitigate poor mental health within the workplace – the investment made will see good returns.  

Guest Blogger:

Thank you to View HR’s Managing Director, Gemma Murphy, for sharing why mental health should be considered top priority at work.

Help and Support:

The team at ViewHR are able to help you create and implement an organisational culture and strategies that prioritises mental health. Contact us on to have a discussion: [email protected] | 01425 205390. 

Dorset Mind offers group support that can also help with your well-being. The group offers peer support. They help to reduce stigma by normalising conversations about mental health. You can also check out further support for stress and mental health here. You’ll find links for 1-2-1 and groups of mental health support we offer here.  If you’re in a crisis, treat it as an emergency. Call 999 immediately or The Samaritans, FREE on 116 123. NHS Dorset’s Helpline ‘Connection’ can be reached on 0800 652 0190. It’s also available 24/7.

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Dorset Mind is a self-funded local charity that helps people in Dorset experiencing mental health problems access the vital support they need. The charity is at the very heart of our communities shaping futures, changing and in some cases literally saving lives.

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