Mental illness costs UK employers £25 billion

Mental illness is costing UK employers up to £25 billion a year, according to a UK report.

The report, published today by the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, reveals that every working day in the UK, one worker in five will experience some form of mental distress.

It is estimated that businesses across the UK are losing £1,000 a year for every person they employ because of mental illness among their staff.

The report recommends that improvements in the management of mental health in the workplace should enable employers to save  at least 30 per cent of these costs each year, equivelant to around £8 billion.

The report calls for employers to recognise those that require help and to offer better access to evidence-based psychological therapy.

Employers should also encourage effective rehabilitation for those who need to take time off work, including regular contact with the employee during periods of absence.

Dr Bob Grove, director of the Sainsbury Centre employment programme, said: ‘Employers need to be aware of mental health. Yet many employers vastly under-estimate how many of their staff will have mental health problems.

‘Employers who take effective action to improve wellbeing of their staff will reap the rewards for their efforts.’

They can train and support line managers to respond quickly and effectively when staff do become unwell, said Dr Grove.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

Mental Health at Work: Developing the business case

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