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This Mental Health Week we wanted to bring some of the figures to the fore on just how harmful poor mental health management at your company can be, not only for the employee, but for all the other employees and your overall company health.

Mental Ill Health is a national issue, and a business issue, and is increasingly, and rightly, being treated as such. Companies need to be honest enough to identify shortfalls in their HR structures and training to make sure these often personal and unique issues are discussed and supported with candour and empathy. How a company ensures their people are looked after is simple – do not ignore it. To ignore it will cost you, cost your employee, cost your productivity and ultimately cost staff morale, growth and sustainability.

The figures are astounding – the annual cost of mental ill health costs the UK economy between £74 billion and £99 billion – to put that in perspective, this loss is DOUBLE our total Military spend for the 2019/2020.

70 million days’ work is lost every year to mental ill health, with 2 in 5 people having taken a day or longer off due to mental health or wellbeing issues, with 300,000 people with long term mental ill health losing their jobs each year.

Worryingly, less than 1 in 5 people are aware of their employer having a “wellbeing at work” policy, and 2 in 3 people feel uncomfortable asking for a mental health sick day.

The above figures were provided by St John’s Ambulance, and they highlight the issue succinctly with their statement “Your most important asset is your people. Why wouldn’t you invest in their happiness at work?

It is of course worth highlighting that Mental Ill Health can originate anywhere, and might be completely dissociated from work. Many people will never talk about these issues at work.

It would be crass and presumptuous to think “work” will fix any issue a person may have. But if you do not have structures in place to offer that level of support your workers deserve, your company will not help, and will not grow.

For more information on how Mental Ill Health impacts the UK economy, and for information on Mental Health Training for your company, head to St John’s Ambulance website at:

http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/training-courses/mental-health-first-aid

If you are in Somerset, and don’t know who to reach out too, you do not need to suffer in silence. Here is a list of local Mental Health providers:

http://www.sompar.nhs.uk/what-we-do/mental-health/

http://www.sompar.nhs.uk/what-we-do/mental-health/community-mental-health-services-cmhs/

https://www.somersetmentalhealthhub.org.uk/

https://www.smws.org.uk/

http://www.somerset.gov.uk/health-and-wellbeing/mental-health-and-wellbeing/

https://www.sparksomerset.org.uk/somerset-mental-health-hub

https://www.mindinsomerset.org.uk/