New Study Claims That Businesses Can’t Cope With Employee’s Mental Health Issues

And it's costing them

Businesses can't cope with employee's mental health issues according to a new study

by Chloe Gray |
Published on

Despite the fact that more people than ever are suffering from anxiety and depression, work places are notoriously bad at coping with mental health issues. In fact, only 14% of businesses have a policy in place to deal with staff how might need days off or extra support because of their suffering.

The news comes from a study by the Institute of Directors, who suggest that stress, depression and anxiety are the biggest reason for employees to be using their sick days, increasing by 25% year on year.

Sophie*, 23, says that her bosses didn’t give her the support she needed when she rang in unable to work because of her mental health issues. She says she called her boss to say she was unable to do her shift at her retail job three times over a period of three months (she worked there for a year and a half). ‘They weren’t very supportive and tried to make me come into work still even though I was crying on the phone, struggling to breath at times,’ she said. ‘They made me make up my time by working a shift later on in the week. When I returned to work my manager was more concerned about how to prevent me having time off again than on my mental health issues.’

And its true that businesses aren’t only worried about their staff, as it turns out sick days could be worsening the economy, too. Apparently the issue could cause a 4.5% drop in British GDP through a loss in working hours and productivity losses, as they reckon 127 million working hours were lost in 2015 due to mental-health-related issues. Higher benefits payments and more stress on the NHS as a result of these stresses also won’t be helping towards the lowering GDP. So what is being done to help sufferers and the economy with the growing mental health issue?

The report recommends that business leaders should implement formal mental health and well-being policies (which should go without saying, in our opinion). But the good news is that there is evidence of businesses already getting plans like this underway.

Ironically, the report comes in the same week that Conservative MP George Freeman said that benefits should not be given to people with anxiety who are ‘taking pills at home’ but should be reserved for people who are ‘really disabled’. Eye roll.

Clearly sufferers are being let down by their work places and the government. And all of this is coming back to bite the businesses and the government in the backside (talk about karma?). We just hope that companies will take the obvious advice from the IoD and introduce some important changes and support for their staff.

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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