Make Mental Health Training Mandatory in the Workplace
Make Mental Health Training Mandatory in the Workplace
Mental health problems have a greater impact on people’s ability to work than any other group of disorders. At the moment, I believe that workplaces have no mandatory protocol, training, or support for people who suffer with Mental Illness.
“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation”. – Glenn Close.
Some of the figures surrounding Mental Health are;
1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England (Mind, 2021).
1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (like anxiety and depression) in any given week in England (Mind, 2021).
Nearly 60% of employees have never discussed their mental health at work (October 2019) (Harvard Business Review, 2021)
550 individuals have carried out an anonymous survey from the Speak Out Revolution. This survey highlights that 55% of the people who have taken part have stated that the informal reporting of harassment and bullying in the workplace has had an impact on their mental health, compared to 69% with formal reporting. (Speak Out Revolution, 2021). This shows that there is a significant level of Mental Health issues arising from the workplace.
So many high-achieving people have suffered — or are currently suffering — from anxiety, depression, or other mental and emotional issues. (September 2019) (Harvard Business Review, 2021)
Anyone can be part of fostering a community at work around mental health; you can lead, instigate or actively participate (Routledge, 2021)
Mental Health is not a sign of weakness. Mental Health is a journey not a destination.
Ami Rees from Elite Force Safety writes “In 2019/20 stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 51% of all work-related ill health cases and 55% of all working days lost due to work-related ill health. (Health and Safety Executive, 2020) Over half. Yet, there is nothing mandatory in place that encourages businesses to support their employees that may be struggling.
If a business was finding 50% of days lost were down to a specific task or physical injury, you can guarantee there would be changes put in place. So why do businesses treat mental health differently to physical health? My personal opinion is Stigma. The stigma prevents people discussing mental health issues; therefore, businesses think they don’t have a problem with it. By making the training mandatory, ensuring every business has some awareness of mental health conditions, signs, and symptoms, not only will it help employees support each other, it will make it less of a taboo topic and get people talking.
Funding is always an issue in these cases because people like to see instant returns.
On the financial note though, in a study by Stevenson/Farmer, they ‘found that a manager mental health training programme could lead to a significant reduction in work-related sickness absence, with an associated return on investment of £9.98 for each pound spent on such training’ (Stevenson & Farmer, 2017). That means introducing a programme addressing mental health issues in the workplace can present a return of interest of up to 800%. So, there is a financial gain to be made.
However, aside from the financial cost, we need to consider the human costs. The suicide rates are rising, there is a very real cost of human life here, all entirely preventable. Mental health training is the starting point for that change. There is no health without mental health.”
A report from 2020 by Deloitte found that poor mental health in the UK can cost employers between £42bn - £45bn every year. This cost is made up of a number of factors ranging from absences, coming to work despite poor health and therefore underperforming and turnover costs (Deloitte, 2020).
We need to break the stigma, we need to talk about mental health, and I think it should be openly spoken about in the workplace.
As an advocate for Mental Health Initiatives, this petition calls on organisations to put in place Mental Health Awareness Training and to encourage their staff to take part.
If Mental Health were to be more of a priority in the workplace, perhaps there would be less of a stigma attached and more of an understanding. We need more organisations to recognise and prioritise Mental Health.
Please sign and share the petition. By signing the petition, you will be getting us one step closer to making mental health awareness training mandatory in the workplace. Thank you.
Deloitte, 2020. Mental health and employers - Refreshing the case for investment. [Online]
Available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/consultancy/deloitte-uk-mental-health-and-employers.pdf
Harvard Business Review, 2021. Navigating Mental Health at Work: A Reading List. [Online]
Available at: https://hbr.org/2021/07/navigating-mental-health-at-work-a-reading-list
Health and Safety Executive, 2020. Work-related stress, anxiety or depression statistics in Great Britian. [Online]
Available at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress.pdf
Routledge, J., 2021. Mental Health at Work. In: s.l.:Penguin Business Experts.
Speak Out Revolution, 2021. Dashboard. [Online]
Available at: https://www.speakoutrevolution.co.uk/dashboard
Stevenson, D. & Farmer, P., 2017. Thriving at work: the Stevenson/Fsrmer review on mental health. [Online]
Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/658145/thriving-at-work-stevenson-farmer-review.pdf