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Mental Health Ignored in British Business

According to a disability charity British businesses are ignoring the mental health of its workers, a situation that was at odds with their concern for physical health//.

Following legislation, pressure from unions and insurers most employers have set up several health and safety systems to guard workers from physical injuries.

However all this good practice does not apply seems to mental health. Most employers do not even have any specific mental health policy.

Following a survey of 550 senior public and private sector managers, for Shaw Trust, it was found that only 3 per cent of these even claimed to have a policy that is effective to deal with stress and mental ill-health that might be caused by, or affect, people’s work.

In addition it was found that three quarters of these managers considered that only about 5 per cent of their employees would suffer any mental health issues during their working lives. Still more amazing was the attitude of large employers where one in ten managers claimed that none of their employees were ever likely to suffer mental problems.

Estimates by the mental health charities however starkly differ from these opinions. According to them a quarter of workers will suffer some problem in any year. While most managers excluded stress and even depression as mental health problems these were often the most oft cited reasons for people to be laid off work.

Shaw Trust claimed that absence because of mental ill-health has cost employers almost £9 billion a year in pay alone. In addition they opined that when people continued to work despite experiencing damaging stress or depression productivity was also dramatically reduced.


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