Business in the Community recognised for leading on mental health awareness

Louise Aston, Business in the Community Wellbeing Director, has today been presented with the inaugural  'Leader in Mental Health Awareness' award at the IoD's annual Director of the Year Awards ceremony in Central London

Recognising excellence in business leadership, this is the first year an award has been presented for championing good mental health in the workplace. Business in the Community has led the way in helping organisations to build a positive culture and to spot the warning signs in staff of poor mental health, undertaking large-scale research and offering practical guidance on how to end the silence surrounding this issue. 

Louise Gulliver, acting Director General at the Institute of Directors, congratulated Business in the Community on their award:
“Hiring and retaining the best talent is integral to a company’s success, so businesses have not only a duty, but also a strong commercial interest in looking after their employees. Businesses are increasingly recognising the importance of the mental wellbeing at work, but do not necessarily have the right policies in place to support their staff. Managing mental health can be difficult for small firms in particular, so the practical advice given by Business in the Community is essential. By instituting this award, the IoD hopes to acknowledge those leaders who are raising the profile of this vital, but often undiscussed, issue.

On receiving the award, Louise Aston, Wellbeing Director, Business in the Community, said: “This award is a real honour and highlights the progress that is being made to move mental health up the boardroom agenda and onto the radar as a business critical issue. Mental health is still the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, and we know that millions of employees feel unable to share their experiences at work. There’s still work to do to create workplace cultures where talking openly about mental health and acting on it is just business as usual. Raising the profile of this issue through this award is a great step in the right direction.”

In the spring of 2016 Business in the Community undertook the largest ever survey of mental wellbeing at work in the UK.  Key findings include: One in four people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime.  At any one point, one in six of the working age population is suffering from a mental health condition.  Last year, stress accounted for 43% of all working days lost due to ill health and for 34% of all work-related ill health cases, yet 95% of employees cited a reason other than workplace stress for their absence due to stigma.

recent survey of 800 IoD members has shown that employers are increasingly aware of the issue with more than 80% thinking a workforce with good mental health is very important to the success of their business.