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Why mental health is a critical business issue

As if last year’s rise of Covid-19 was not enough for businesses and the economy to contend with, we have entered into a second wave and 2021 looks to have even more challenges of its own. Having spoken to a lot of our clients and different SMEs in the run up to Christmas and the start of 2021, one thing is certain – they are all facing challenges. Working from home with children, feelings of isolation, financial anxiety, struggling to know what the priorities are, mental exhaustion, the blurring of work and home life, feeling good one day and anxious the next.

We’ve all been there. 

Yet laying the current pandemic aside, mental health has been a rising issue for some time. 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England and 1 in 6 people report to experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week in England. This is costing businesses a staggering £1,300 per employee whose mental health needs are currently unsupported. 

The Mental Health Training gap 

Whilst many companies have already taken steps to acknowledge how to better support mental health in the workplace, through the means of company policies and supportive management, there is still a huge skills gap in managers being able to support their teams with common mental health issues. 

According to research, 69% of UK line managers say that supporting employee wellbeing is a core skill, yet only 13% have received mental health training. 35% of line managers reported a wish for basic training in common mental health conditions.  

The effects positive mental health can have on your organisation’s culture 

Part of the problem with mental health is the stigma attached to it. People are often afraid to speak out because they think their manager may think they’re not fit to do their job. By having open, compassionate, learning conversations about mental health, it creates an opportunity for dialogue and emotional support.

Employers have a duty of care to create a workplace culture that does not shy away from discussing mental health issues; it needs to be made explicit to all employees that time off work due to mental ill health will be treated in the exact same way as time off due to physical ill health.

Support in a crisis

Coronavirus came about very quickly and employers have had to mobilise their teams quickly in response. Managers are having to quickly become coaches and find alternative ways to engage and connect with their teams. However, they also need to be equipped with the skills to spot early signs of mental health issues, even when working remotely and to encourage people to speak up about how they’re feeling, especially in times of isolation and working in silos. 

Mental Health First Aid training provides managers with the important skills to do this, and strategies to reach out and support those most in need.  It has the power to transform an organisation by improving each employee’s mindset and empowering them to take control of their mental health both at work and outside of it.   

We believe that Mental Health First Aid training should be a compulsory skill for all managers, not just to see our teams through this turbulent time, but as a business critical support mechanism that reaps so many benefits for employees and the organisation as a whole. 

If you would like more information about Mental Health First Aid training carried out by qualified and approved professionals, please contact us on 0333 358 0504 or email

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