Lovewell’s logic: Can you put a price on mental health support?

As we move past Blue Monday (20 January) and on towards Time to Talk Day on 6 February, the issue of mental health remains firmly at the top of the agenda for many. Of course, this issue is not confined to the winter months, but the role of such events in raising awareness and prompting organisations to review their policies and practices in this area can be integral in the longer term.

Aside from the positive impact on employee wellbeing that mental health support can have, employers are also likely to reap business benefits, as shown by several pieces of research published this week.

First, AIG Life found that one in six employees surveyed had been forced to take time out from their career due to stress or mental health pressures; this equates to 19% of non-retired female employees and 15% of men.

Failing to offer mental health support in the workplace can therefore come at a significant cost for employers in terms of reduced productivity and lost skills and experience. In fact, according to analysis by Deloitte, poor mental health can cost UK businesses up to £45 billion per year; a rise of 16% since 2016.

Deloitte’s analysis also found the highest prevalence of mental health issues among younger people. Among employees aged 18-29, for example, employers stand to lose the equivalent of 8.3% of their salaries due to poor mental health. On the flip side, across all employee groups, for every £1 invested in mental health support, employers stand to gain £5 in return for their investment in reduced productivity, absenteeism and turnover.

The availability of mental health support also appears to be a key factor in individuals’ decisions to join or remain with an employer. According to figures from Legal and General, 53% of those surveyed would be more likely to apply for roles within organisations that have mental health and support policies in place, while 69% would be more attracted to work for an organisation in which senior executives spoke openly about mental health. Just 29% said they would stay in their current role if they were offered a position by a competitor with comprehensive mental health support and training.

Of course, many organisations are already doing great things when it comes to supporting employees’ mental health. If you are one of them, why not gain some well-deserved recognition for your work by entering the Employee Benefits Awards 2020 in the category of Best mental health strategy? The entry deadline has just been extended to 31 January 2020, so you have plenty of time to do so.

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck
Tweet: @DebbieLovewell