Today is Time to Talk Day focusing on ending the stigma of mental ill-health in the workplace.
Mental ill-health costs UK employers up to £42 billion annually due to poor productivity, sickness absence and staff turnover. With the number of stress and anxiety workplace-related cases increasing by over 37% just last year, this is a key topic for employers.
Over the last several years there has been a growing recognition of the need for employers to proactively foster mental wellbeing in the workplace and of the benefits this can bring. This is a noticeable shift from the historic approach, which tended to focus more on dealing with the problems only after staff had gone off sick.
#TimetoTalk encourages staff to have conversations about mental health so that they can be more open about the issue and can ask for support if they need it. This reflects key aspects of good practice that employers can adopt to foster good mental health and wellbeing, including:
developing mental health awareness amongst staff by making information, tools and support accessible;
destigmatising mental ill-health, for example via networks and support groups, and training up staff to spot the early signs of a mental health issue so that more targeted support can be provided were needed; and
generally supporting staff in need, including offering professional help and where appropriate, making reasonable adjustments to the workplace.
These developments can be seen as part of a wider ongoing strategy by the UK government to prevent and reduce ill-health issues in the workplace.