Why Mental Health Training Should Be Your Next Business Investment: Part 2
In our first post of our
Why mental health training should be your next business investment blog series we looked at what exactly mental health training is.
But why does an open mental health culture matter and what benefits will mental health training bring to your business? Read on to find out more.
Why An Open Mental Health Culture Matters
A recent CIPD study found that reported common mental health conditions increased from 41% to 55% between 2016 and 2018. This could partly be due to creating a more open culture when it comes to mental health.
As a result, this has led to 51% of businesses increasing awareness of mental health issues across their operations – that’s a 20% rise from
two years earlier.
There is some gender disparity when it comes to reporting mental health at work. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 8.1% of women and 5.7% of men cite mental health conditions as their reason for being absent from work.
Statisticians revealed that men are typically less likely to seek medical help for these conditions. What’s more, medical professionals are more likely to diagnose women with mental
Although progress has been made over recent years, there is still a stigma associated with mental health. Employers can help to overcome this by encouraging staff to be forthcoming about their issues. It’s also beneficial to offer opportunities to discuss their problems, such as with a dedicated mental health first aider.
This will help employers as they will be more aware of the medical issues their staff are facing. They will be more clued up on how they can take practical steps to offer help. Simply letting sickness absence build up isn’t an ideal solution for any business, which is why an open workplace culture can make a big difference.
How Will My Business Benefit From Mental Health Training?
If you are a business owner, you might be questioning why mental health training deserves your investment. In order to be effective, it needs to form part of a wider wellbeing strategy. Mental health impacts on so many areas of a business that it simply isn’t possible to consider it in isolation. Long-term cultural and behavioural change is needed for any strategy to be truly effective.
Every workplace is different, but these are just some of the reasons why mental health training can make practical and financial sense for your business.
Cutting Down On Sickness Absence
Figures show there has been a rise in sick days attributed to mental health issues, especially among those aged 25 to 34. In 2017, 9.6% said their sickness absence was a result of a mental health condition – that’s a rise of
2.4% from 2009.
PwC estimates that sick days cost UK businesses as much as £29 billion a year. The group also emphasised that “forward-thinking companies” are investing more in their employees’ wellbeing. This means they are able to tackle issues before they have the opportunity to affect their
Mental health first aiders are trained to be both proactive and reactive. This provides the opportunity for mental health problems to be addressed as early as possible, enabling workers to get whatever help they need.
Combating Presenteeism, Encouraging Productivity
One concept that has arisen over recent years is that of presenteeism. This is when an employee turns up to work when they are not well enough to perform their duties to their full potential.
In many cases, presenteeism can be just as damaging as absenteeism. The Centre for Mental Health estimates that presenteeism relating to poor mental health costs businesses twice as much as sickness absence. This is further exacerbated by the number of people who leave their jobs as a result of poor mental health.
Mental health first aiders are trained to identify where this is the case. A worker may be particularly distant, their attention span limited, or tasks might be taking longer than usual to complete. This can particularly hinder productivity at a business, which understandably has an impact on its bottom line.
These days, staff look for more than just a decent salary when they go in search of a job. Instead, other factors such as the working environment are playing an increasingly critical part in choosing where to work.
Employers that invest in mental health training are demonstrating a commitment to their workforce, showing they care about their staff. This should pay dividends in terms of employee retention, especially at a time when workers are generally more mobile than at any other time in the past.
Mind recently released research showing that 48% of the UK workforce have experienced a mental health problem in their current job. Only half had discussed the issue with their employer, so by opening up opportunities for discussion, it’s possible that some of these issues could be overcome, making staff less likely to go in search
of a new role. Staying on the right side of the law
Although there is no legal requirement at present to provide mental health training, employers do have a duty towards their workforce to provide a safe working environment.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and welfare of their staff. This isn’t the only piece of legislation to be aware of; the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 state that employers must assess workplace health and safety risks for their
employees. Promoting equality
Employers cannot be shown to be discriminating against staff who suffer from mental health problems. There are a growing number of campaigns across the UK to give mental health the same level of priority as physical health, including the
It’s OK Not To Be OK initiative and Mental Health Awareness Week.
By adopting the open workplace culture already discussed, and offering mental health training, business owners can clearly demonstrate to their staff they are serious about their wellbeing, whether physical or mental.
So now you know the reasons why your company should invest in mental health training, how do you know who would make a good mental health first aider? Our final blogpost in the series will explore the key characteristics needed to become a mental health first aider.