Higher priority given to staff mental health

Two research reports published in October show staff mental health problems are a key issue facing employers, especially in an uncertain economic climate.

Some employers are taking action, such as accountancy firm Deloitte, which unveiled a black dog statue at its London offices to show its commitment to the Black Dog campaign, run by the charity Sane to support mental health.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)/Simplyhealth absence management survey found that 40% of employer respondents reported a rise in stress-related absence over the past year, and only 10% reported a decrease.

For the second year running, stress was cited as the top cause of long-term absence.

The number of employers reporting increased mental health problems among their employees more than doubled in 2012 compared with the 2009 survey.

The report showed average overall absence levels had fallen in the past year, but suggested this could reflect more presenteeism.

Sayeed Khan, chief medical adviser at EEF, said: “There is a feeling there are a lot of people in work who should not be because of sickness and presenteeism.”

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The second report, Health in the workplace 2012, was published by Aviva to coincide with World Mental Health Day on 10 October. It found the initiative employers would most like to implement is more support for employees with mental health issues (34%).

Doug Wright, medical director at Aviva, said: “Many firms offer no support to such staff, but we are also seeing more and more starting to provide support.”

  • National Stress Awareness Day is on 7 November.