Poor mental health costs UK employers up to £45bn each year – but it’s a cost they can cut considerably by investing in the right support for their people.  

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An estimated one in six people of working age experience a common mental health problem in any given week. This makes poor mental health one of the UK’s biggest social problems.  

Working in partnership with mental health charity Mind, Deloitte explored the relationship between mental health and work. Our analysis was published earlier this year. Here we talk to Elizabeth Hampson, Deloitte Director and author of the report, and Anju Jacob, Deloitte manager and co-author.  

Despite more help for mental health being provided by employers and a reduction in perceptions of associated stigma, costs to employers of poor mental health continues to rise. We calculated that it costs them up to £45bn per year. But this is a cost they can cut considerably by investing in mental health support for their people.” said Elizabeth.  

Anju added; “Our research highlighted important issues like the potential effects of a growing ‘always-on’ culture driven by technology, and the emergence of young people as the most vulnerable group in the workplace to poor mental health.” 

In January 2020, the BBC broadcast a day of programming on poor mental health at work. Our analysis was used to quantify the size of the problem in coverage across TV, radio and online news.  

Sharing these findings as widely as possible is really important to us - because only by understanding the root causes can employers start to help.” said Anju.  

The lockdown effect 

“The pandemic has thrown up huge challenges and concerns for employers and staff, including things like job security, furlough, juggling working and parenting and the challenges of working remotely, to name a few.” says Emma MamoMind’s Head of Workplace Wellbeing, Emma Mamo. 

“That’s why it’s more important than ever that employers put in place well-promoted, easy to access wellbeing initiatives to reassure staff that their wellbeing remains a priority. Measures such as subsidised or free counselling, financial check-ups, 24-hour Employee Assistance programmes and online exercise classes can all make a difference.”  

Money well spent  

“The research showed there were no downsides to employers’ investing in support for their people.” said Elizabeth.  

“The return on investment analysis of employee mental health interventions that we conducted as part of the research showed that it pays to support mental health at work – for each £1 spent on mental health interventions, employers get £5 back.”  

This is clearly good news.  

Early interventions seem to be most valuable; organisation-wide culture change and education could help avoid more in-depth support at a later stage when a person is struggling.  

Our analysis also found that employees with financial concerns are more likely to report signs of poor mental health that affect performance at work. Our consulting teams are already acting on this; they’re looking at increasing financial literacy amongst our employees and creating support for individuals facing financial challenges.  

It’s time for change.  

There is clearly a strong case for investment. We’re hoping that by sharing our findings, more businesses will implement changes. Together we can make the future brighter future for everyone.  

View the full report here and discover the many other ways we’ve made an impact in 2020.

What impact will you make with us? Explore careers at Deloitte here.

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