Mental health

Aim: Help employees shift their view of health benefits, engage in preventative care, and be inspired to adopt new healthier behaviours that benefit individuals and their families
Activity: Development of American Express Services Europe Healthy Living Programme
People are working longer, harder and in tougher times than ever before. This is resulting in unprecedented levels of pressure on employees, with common mental health conditions like anxiety, stress and depression rising and resulting in higher levels of absence and presenteeism.

The remarkable achievements made over the past year range from new public support from senior business leaders to creating new, dedicated programmes to embed the promotion of positive mental wellbeing into business strategy and organisational policy. Our champion organisations employ nearly half a million people in the UK alone, many of whom will have directly benefited from these initiatives.

- Patrick Watt,

Corporate Director, Bupa UK

However, there is still a damaging culture of silence around mental health, with people reluctant to talk openly about the issue for fear of stigma and discrimination. This is not only causing a huge amount of personal suffering; it is also costingUK employers £26 billion a year. In April 2014, leading businesses came together to create a landmark campaign to bring an end to the culture of silence around mental health. They recognised the overwhelming business and moralcase for taking action and identified the need and opportunity for a business-led movement to drive change. This mission was outlined in the campaign’s inaugural report, Mental Health: We’re Ready to Talk, produced in alliance with Mind and Time to Change. These companies put a stake in the ground for pioneering a new kind of relationship between businesses and their employees, committing to take action to create parity between mental and physical health. This has beenachieved by taking a proactive, integrated approach to wellbeing rooted in the framework of Business in the Community’s (BITC) Workwell Model and by making a public commitment to the Time to Change pledge.
Helping organisations rethink the approach to Mental Wellbeing in the workplace, this report makes the business case, with case studies demonstrating practical action.
One in four adults in the UK will experience a mental health condition in any given year, with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimating the cost of mental health to the UK economy at £70 billion per year, equating to 4.5% of GDP1. Mental ill health at work is thought to cost UK employers £26 billion each year – on average £1,035 per employee.
This report sets out the evidence that UK businesses are less competitive due to a culture of silence around mental health in the workplace, and demonstrates why the time is now for business leaders to show the way in encouraging conversation around the issue. Through an analysis of the business costs of growing levels of pressure on UK employees and by identifying key criteria for responsible people management, this report provides a route map to help ensure that mental wellbeing becomes a strategic boardroom issue. It should be the marker of every responsible business to talk openly about mental health in the workplace.
This report has been produced by BITC with members of the Mental Health Champions Group working in alliance with Mind to help promote the Time to Change pledge. The group and the campaign launched during Responsible Business Week 2014. Members of the group have vowed to talk about mental health more openly within their organisations and with their peers because they have faith in the benefits that transparency will bring.
Aim: To provide employees with access to psychological services and support managers to detect early signs of stress in their colleagues to prevent psychological and physical ill health and promote good mental health and resilience
Activity: Introduction of Employee Support Programme
Presenteeism means reduced productivity when employees come to work and are not fully engaged or perform at lower levels as a result of ill health.
This Emotional Resilience Toolkit provides practical guidance in promoting the resilience of individuals and teams in companies as part of an integrated health and wellbeing programme.