Startacus Join Now! /

Stigma around mental health costs UK economy £1.4bn a year

Startacus RSS

by Startacus Admin

Stigma mental health
Stigma around mental health struggles and burnout is costing the UK economy £1.4bn a year through unexplained sick days, with 40% of employees uncomfortable telling their managers they need to take days off for mental health reasons, research from Breathe reveals.

A new report from Breathe, HR software for SMEs, commissioned to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 reveals British workers are still uncomfortable disclosing mental health issues or burnout, as nearly a quarter (23%) admit they would rather take an unexplained sick day than discuss their issues with their employers.

Conducted via Opinium, a leading independent business intelligence agency, the research found 40% of employees are uncomfortable calling in sick to their employer for a mental health workplace stigmamental health reason, even though business owners ranked mental health issues as the third (75%) most ‘acceptable reason to call in sick’ -- a significant increase from its prior ranking (17%) from Benenden Health’s 2015 study.

According to Breathe’s ‘Sick Report 2019: the state of health and well-being in British SMEs’, which surveyed over 1,500 employees and SME business leaders, unexplained sicks days are costing the UK economy £1.4bn annually.

This research echoes recent findings from CIPD alongside Simplyhealth that revealed nearly two-fifths of UK businesses (37%) have seen an increase in stress-related absence over the last year, with heavy workloads and poor management style to blame.

Jonathan Richards, CEO at Breathe adds, “Running a business is one of the most challenging things someone mental health workplace stigmacan do and our research shows mental health issues are prevalent at board level too. This makes it all the more important for SMEs to focus on its company culture by prioritising employee health and well-being, this means leading from the front and practising what you preach. After all, employee and boardroom burnout is not conducive to business success.”

Other key findings from the report found that persistent presenteeism: 50% of employees regularly work through their breaks and outside of working hours, indicating that presenteeism – a known contributor to stress – is commonplace in the UK’s SME workplaces.

George Bell, Partner Development at Sanctus adds, “This timely report shows people don’t talk about mental health enough -- especially within the workplace. And I believe startup culture is exacerbating this problem by Sanctusencouraging people to work themselves into the ground, ’sleep faster’ and move quicker. It’s encouraging to see more research on mental health as it should have as much publicity as our physical health does, potentially even more. Our minds are more important than our biceps.”

The report also highlights that not enough support is offered to employees with nearly half (46%) of employees not receiving any health and well-being benefits, such as paid sick leave, private medical insurance, free fruit, cycle to work schemes or gym memberships.

However attitudes are changing, with mental health high up the list of the top 6 acceptable reasons for calling in sick according to employees, and three-quarters of employees and decision makers consider mental health issues an acceptable reason for absences.

Ruth Sutherland, CEO at Samaritans commented on the report, “It’s encouraging to see more employers taking the emotional health of their staff seriously. But we still have more work to do. The only way we can bring about real change is to create an open and supportive workplace, where staff feel able to talk about their emotional health without fear of judgment. And employers can play a crucial role in helping people look after their emotional health.”

workplace mental health stigma


 


Subscribe to our newsletter

If you would like to receive our startup themed newsletter, full of the latest startup opportunities, events, news, stories, tips and advice, then sign up here.
Startacus RSS
Business DealsSubmit Your Startup
Win TicketsNetwork and Collaborate
Our Latest Features



Published on: 15th May 2019

If you would like to enable commenting via your Startacus account, please enable Disqus functionality in your Account Settings.


Create an Idea!View Other Ideas, Projects or Startups
Why not Sign Up?
Create Projects
Edit Projects
Self Interviews
Self Starter of the Year
Product Giveaways
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Startacus
Check us out at our Google+ page!