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Mental Health is Leading Cause of Illness in the Workplace

Kevin Young, SkillsoftBy Kevin Young

BBC News recently reported that mental health issues such as stress or depression are now the leading cause of illness in the workplace, with more than 11 million working days lost last year.

This staggering figure is not just a shocking headline. With one in four people experiencing a mental health problem in their lifetime, it is the leading cause of disability worldwide and a major concern for HR and personnel managers everywhere.

It also means that provision for employees’ mental health issues are no longer just a ‘nice-to-have’ policy. It is an essential part of business continuity because as well as being detrimental to the wellbeing of the affected employees and their colleagues, it has real business impact. So, making it a living, breathing part of your business is absolutely critical.

Indeed, a recent Mind survey of over 1,000 workers in England reported that over half of managers (56%) said they would like to do more to improve staff mental wellbeing but they needed more training and/or guidance.

Perhaps this is because one in five (19%) respondents say they have taken a day off sick because of stress, and one in 10 (9%) have resigned from a job for the same reason.

According to Time for Change, when people feel under pressure at work it can lead to stress and anxiety. A short period of stress on its own is not likely to be considered a disability under law, but prolonged stress can become more serious and make existing mental health problems worse. It is in the best interests of employers and employees to avoid this situation, and create mentally healthy workplaces that are free from discrimination and where wellbeing is a priority.

And, mental health problems like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder do not need to stop people from working. With the right support and the right job people with mental health problems perform vital roles in workplaces across the UK.

To learn more, please get in touch with your Skillsoft Account Representative or call +44(0)1276 401994.

Kevin Young is General Manager, EMEA at Skillsoft.

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