A new report has found that up to 300,000 people with long-term mental health problems have to leave their jobs each year. The Mind chief executive Paul Farmer, who co-authored the Thriving At Work report said that mental health seemed to be a taboo subject in the workplace. It was revealed that poor mental health costs employers up to £42bn a year with an annual cost to the UK economy of £99bn
Theresa May, who commissioned the report said that it showed ‘we need to take action.’ She went on to say: "It is only by making this an everyday concern for everyone that we change the way we see mental illness so that striving to improve your mental health - whether at work or at home - is seen as just as positive as improving our physical wellbeing."
Hayley Smith was diagnosed with chronic depression in her early 20s and lost her job as a result, she told the BBC: ‘I'd been bottling up quite a bit through most of my teens. Then it hit me a like a brick wall.’
Things began to improve and when she got a job at a food and drink company, but she had weekly counselling to attend.
She went on to explain that every Thursday she’d have to take the afternoon off and spoke to her boss. In the meeting, she was fine with it and was told 'do what you need to do' but after the meeting, Hayley received an email being told she was going to be taken off her accounts and that she should think about seeking employment at a mental health charity as ‘they might relate.’ Working there for a few further months triggered Hayley to experience anxiety and depression.
The review says employers should take action to tackle the growing issue of poor mental health at work, including:
Create a mental health at work plan
Build mental health awareness by making information and support accessible
Encourage open conversations
Provide good working conditions and ensure employees have a healthy work-life balance
Promote effective people management, with line managers holding regular conversations about health and well-being with their staff
Routinely monitor employee mental health
The head of Public Health England, Duncan Selbie, said: 'This compelling review adds to the evidence demonstrating how important it is for employers to notice mental health in the workplace. Mental health problems are the second greatest cause of workplace sickness.'
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.