We’re backing a call in a new report for employers to recognise the direct impact of work upon their employees’ mental health and take action.

The Business in the Community Mental Health at Work Report (2019) highlights the urgent need for employers to do more about the impact their working practices have on the mental health of their employers.

It found:

  • Two out of five (39%) employees have experienced poor mental health due to work, or where work was a contributing factor, in the past year. This figure was 36% in 2017 and 2018.
  • Over a third of employees (36%) report not having any workplace facilities or services that could help wellbeing or mental health.
  • Counselling or psychotherapy services were only available to 13% of employees.  

Our workforce lead Kris Ambler said: “This report highlights a desperate need for employers to step up and develop a better understanding of their responsibilities.

“It’s a concern that over a third of employees report not having any workplace facilities or services that could help wellbeing or mental health, and even more so that counselling or psychotherapy services were available to only 13% of employees.  

“Counselling and psychotherapy professionals are highly trained and ideally placed to support employees’ mental health.

“Talking therapies can play a key role in helping employers meet their duty of care to employees and support a number of strategic objectives, including reducing absence, presenteeism and staff turnover.”

Kris added that the report points to some particular challenges, especially in addressing the needs of employees from disabled, LGBT+ and BAME groups.

People within these groups are more likely to experience mental health issues at work than those with no disability, heterosexual and white employees.

“Clearly work needs to be done here, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution,” said Kris.

The report urges employers to take three actions:

  • Create good work that enhances mental health, for everyone.
  • Acknowledge and support poor mental health, whatever the cause.
  • Publicly report your wellbeing performance.

Kris added: “Investing in mental health literacy and signposting are becoming increasingly popular with employers but, while this has its place, it must be part of wider cultural shift – embedded within the fabric of the organisation.

“We are actively communicating the value of talking therapies within workplaces, and will continue to push these to help both employers and employees. This report will go a long way toward helping achieve the change required and we welcome the opportunity to work with employers that seize the initiative.”

“We aim to lead by example, providing a comprehensive package of support for employees including a health benefits programme, access to an Employee Assistance Programme and a range of additional wellbeing services."

Read the full report.

The Government has recently published a consultation on improving health at work and reducing ill-health related job losses.

This consultation focuses on making changes to current Statutory Sick Pay provisions, extending the right to workplace modifications to all employees and emphasises the role of occupational health services to assist employees experiencing physical and mental health problems.

We welcome this and urge our members to respond to the consultation, to ensure that the voice of counselling and psychotherapy professionals is more prominent within the Government’s offer to improve workforce health. The consultation runs until 6 October.

Take part in the consultation.