16th May 2018

Mental Health Awareness Week: Firms need to invest more in mental health measures

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Only one in five companies invest in measures to promote mental health, a major study coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week has revealed.

The data, published by manufacturers’ organisation EEF and Westfield Health, highlights that good wellbeing can bring significant benefit to companies. This is especially key if the focus is on good mental health, resilience, autonomy and involvement at work.

The survey, which was carried out by the Institute of Employment Studies, also shows that more than 60 per cent of companies carry out a physical risk intervention but just 15 per cent currently assess work risk to mental health.

Additionally, fewer than a third of companies engage in training managers in managing stress and just one in five companies are using well-known interventions such mental health first aid (MHFA) training.

In particular, it shows that good wellbeing can bring significant benefit to companies, especially if the focus is on good mental health, resilience, autonomy and involvement at work, which according to the study, can bring productivity improvements of up to 10 per cent.

The study, which looked at 141 companies, notes poor wellbeing can increase costs, reduce motivation and employee engagement and take up management time.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week 14th – 20th May 2018

Steve Jackson, Director of Health, Safety & Sustainability at EEF, said: “More and more companies are recognising the benefits and opportunities of promoting the wider wellbeing of their employees.  This can bring significant benefit to companies with employees who are better motivated and engaged.

“Giving employees support and a positive psychosocial work environment has a proven impact on productivity and means that employees who embrace the challenges and demands of work with more energy and commitment.”

Richard Holmes, Director of Wellbeing at Westfield Health said: “Workplace-related stress, illnesses and mental health issues are becoming a bigger concern than ever. When workers’ minds aren’t completely on the job it can potentially lead to costly mistakes, accidents and health and safety risks.

“At Westfield health, we ‘believe in well beings’. When you believe in the physical and emotional wellbeing of your staff it can completely transform the face of your business, improve productivity and create a positive working environment.  But it needs to start from the top down, business leaders need to create a culture where people’s health and wellbeing is prioritised.”

Stephen Bevan, Head of HR Research Development at the Institute for Employment Studies said: “This research shows that there is a clear business case for investing in workforce wellbeing. This goes beyond saving money and extends to issues of product quality and customer service too.”

80 per cent of firms do see improving productivity as a reason for investing in wellbeing measures, but just 8 per cent see it as the most important reason for doing so. Less than a third of companies invest in healthy living programmes for their employees, despite evidence showing that employees in good health are up to three times more productive.

Key findings:

  • 80 per cent of companies see improving productivity as a reason for wellbeing investment
  • Employees in good health are three times more productive
  • Only 15 per cent of companies assess work risk to mental health – just 1 in 5 invest in mental health measures
  • Research shows investment in wellbeing improves motivation and performance

Find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week here and read our latest blog 10 people you should know in the world of wellbeing: Rubens Filho from Abracademy