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MinM calls for greater commitment to workplace mental health

Mates in Mind

Mates in Mind urges industry to stop paying lip service to mental well-being and address work-related ill health

THE Mates in Mind (MinM) charity has highlighted recent mental health statistics as a stark warning to employers of the cost to workers and businesses if workplace mental health is not properly understood.

Following the release of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) annual figures for Great Britain, James Rudoni, managing director of MinM, urges companies to ensure that they are investing in their people rather than paying lip service to addressing mental health.

This comes as the HSE reports the number of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety (new or longstanding) in 2018/19 has remained at 600,000 cases – the same as reported for 2017/18.

The HSE also stated that in 2018/19 – stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of all work-related ill health cases and 54% of all working days lost due to ill health. The latest annual statistics reveal that the total number of working days lost due to this condition in 2018/19 was 12.8 million days – equating to an average of 21.2 days lost per case.

Commenting on the findings, Mr Rudoni said: ‘This latest report by the HSE further reinforces the importance of our charity’s aims to drive change across UK workplaces and immediately support employers to improve the mental health of their workforces. It is evident, acknowledging the rates of lost working days, that the sustainability and productivity of our businesses are being impacted by mental health.’

He continued: ‘However, in addition to highlighting the worrying business cost that poor mental health is having across UK industries at a time of significant and unusual pressure for many companies; we must acknowledge that the human cost of these trends cannot be ignored either.

‘The numbers being presented in HSE’s report are not simply cases, but people, therefore, we urge employers to invest in the health of their organizations, by prioritizing the mental health of their most vulnerable and most valuable asset - their people.’

Within the HSE report respondents cited workload pressures, including tight deadlines, too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support, as the main factors causing work-related stress, depression or anxiety. Other factors included: a lack of managerial support; organizational changes at work; violence; and role uncertainty (lack of clarity about job role).

‘Although we are encouraged to see that the number of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in the UK did not increase further over the last year, and have been pleased to witness and facilitate progressive developments of mentally healthy workplaces alongside our partner organizations – we recognize that there is still much work to be done,’ said Mr Rudoni.

‘Mates in Mind understands that if organizations are to make meaningful changes and do more than pay lip service to the topic of mental health, they must address the harmful reaction people have to undue pressure and demands placed on them at work, and the impacts this has on their mental health.

‘With the HSE’s report highlighting the challenges that work-related ill-health poses and the specific areas in which employers and organizations can work to be better and make a change ­­– the latest figures come as an important warning that more organizations need to take action.’

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