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Mental Health and Employers: Refreshing the case for investment

Jonathan’s Voice in collaboration with the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust is shortly to publish a booklet, “Protecting your mental health – a guide for patent and trade mark attorneys”. If you would like to receive a hard copy of this booklet when available, please send an email to val@jonathansvoice.org

However, looking after your own mental health and well-being is only part of the story. Those who work in organizations of whatever size should be able to expect their employer to create a culture where concern for mental health and well-being is integral to the organization and not an add on. Addressing stigma and embedding good practice throughout the organization is not only the right thing to do but makes good business sense. This will be addressed in a booklet for senior leaders which Jonathan’s Voice and Charlie Waller Memorial Trust are currently preparing.

Deloitte Report

A  comprehensive report published by Deloitte which follows on from their earlier 2017 report makes the case clearly. It draws on research by organisations such as Business in the Community and the Labour Force survey. This updated report also makes a very clear financial case for companies to invest in the mental health of their employees. It identifies that for every £1 spent there is a return of £5. However although there are financial implications for organisations, it is not just about the money it should be about helping reduce the stigma of mental ill-health and enabling the implementation of policies and practices to support mental health and well -being .

The report identifies a number of issues related to the promotion of good mental well-being, these include:

  • The increased use of technology, particularly so when working remotely. Although it can bring benefits to the workplace, it can also help drive a culture of ‘always on’ and available, having the potential to create a detrimental effect on employee well-being.
  • The concept of ‘presenteeism’, which is defined as an employee attending work despite having poor mental health and as a consequence not able to perform to their full ability. It is interesting to note that whilst sickness absence has fallen, the cost of presenteeism has risen. It is worthy of note that young people are more likely to report for work rather than take a day off
  • An increase in 2014/15 in self-reported work-related mental health e.g stress, anxiety issues. Interestingly it is projected that mental health work related issues will soon surpass other work-related illnesses a such as hearing damage, musculoskeletal problems. We believe this is why it is important to empower individuals to speak up.
  • Young or early career professionals are the most vulnerable when it comes to mental health related difficulties and are more susceptible to burn-out syndrome and financial worries. (there is a blog on the issue of burn-out syndrome on this website)

For the full report https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/consultancy/deloitte-uk-mental-health-and-employers.pdf

Jackie Scruton

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