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Tackling the taboo of mental ill-health at work

Acas has launched its first guide to tackle what it describes as the last taboo in business – mental illness at work. Acas argue that it is a fast-growing problem, particularly with workers becoming increasingly concerned about their futures in the economic downturn, and costs Britain more than £30billion every year in lost production.

In launching its new guide, ‘Promoting positive mental health at work’, Acas ask why aren’t we doing more about mental health problems which cost employers in the UK £30 billion a year through lost production, recruitment and absence? Acas believe the answer is straightforward. Despite the fact that it is very common – one in four of us will suffer mental health problems during our lives – we find it very difficult to talk about. If you can’t talk about it, it may prove equally difficult to listen and not listening could prove very costly – to the individual and to the employer. The Centre for Mental Health charity estimate that employers should be able to cut the cost of mental health – in lost production and replacing staff – by about a third by improving their management of mental health at work. So Acas has teamed up with the NHS’s Mindful Employer initiative, a leading authority on managing mental health at work, to develop a training package and guidance designed to help employers to: (i) tackle the stigma around mental health; (ii) focus on the practical things an
employer can do to help; and (iii) develop solutions by listening.

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