Have businesses been napping on mental health issues?

Published on LinkedIn 22nd June 2015

The latest EEF/Jelf sickness absence survey shows mental health problems are the main cause of absence for one in four companies. Mental health problems have steadily risen in their impact on businesses and yet only 1 in 10 companies provide training for line managers in mental health issues.

Reality may be worse than estimated. There is evidence that only a fraction of sick notes for mental health episodes, record it. Sick notes relate to any of the symptoms of stress, for example ‘fatigue’ or ‘gastric problems’. Whilst these symptoms exist, they are not the absolute reason for the absence.

There is therefore a risk of competitive advantage being lost through reduced productivity from this issue and organisations who have open disclosure and good training for managers will be able to take advantage.

That’s not all. With CIPD, reporting this week, that 78% of organisations have experienced recruitment difficulties in the last year there is increasing competition for talent. Please don’t consider for a moment that your talent is immune to mental health problems, they are just as prone as anyone else and for a variety of reasons, including being passionate about their job and success driven, they can indeed be more at risk.

Consider carefully therefore your plans for how you invest in your employees this year. Choose wisely and there could be returns on your investment from several aspects.

We work with public and private sector organisations to assess, support or improve the mental wellbeing of workforces and aid business productivity. If you would like help with this, please contact us: