An independent review of mental health and employers has revealed that around 300,000 people are leaving their jobs each year due to mental illness.
The review was commissioned by Prime Minister Theresa May in January 2017 and is now complete. Its findings indicate that mental health costs employers between £33 billion and £42 billion every year, with an annual cost to the UK economy of between £74 billion and £99 billion.
May tweeted that the situation is "unsustainable, unfair and unjust". She called for organisations to give more mental health support to their employees, in order to reduce the number of people losing their jobs as a result of mental ill-health.
Around 300,000 people with a long term #mentalhealth problem are losing their jobs each year. This is unsustainable, unfair and unjust— Theresa May (@theresa_may) October 26, 2017
'Thriving at Work: a review of mental health and employers' includes forty recommendations for the public and private sector.
The report was compiled by Lord Dennis Stevenson and CEO of Mind and Chair of the NHS Mental Health Taskforce, Paul Farmer.
As part of the review, they write: "Our work has revealed that the UK is facing a mental health challenge at work that is much larger that we had thought."
The review goes on to establish a "mental health core standards" framework for all organisations - regardless of industry, size or type of workplace - recommending that employers do the following six things:
- Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan
- Develop mental health awareness among employees
- Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling
- Provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development
- Promote effective people management through line managers and supervisors
- Routinely monitor employee mental health and well being
The report also includes "more ambitious 'enhanced' standards for employers who can and should do more to lead the way," including a focus on transparency and reporting, as well as the provision of tailored in-house mental health support.
"We need to take action."
In a statement, the Prime Minister further commented on the review and its recommendations, saying "we need to take action."
She has urged NHS England and the Civil Service to implement the report's recommendations - which will benefit the more than two million people employed by the two organisations. May is also writing to the Confederation of Business Industry, Institute of Directors and Federation of Small Businesses in the hope they will do the same.
"With so many of our leading businesses leading the way in this area - and reaping the rewards as a result - I am sure that the private sector will follow suit," May stated.
"It is only by making this an everyday concern for everyone that we can change the way we see mental illness so that striving to improve your mental health - whether at work or at home - is seen as just as positive as improving our physical wellbeing."