One in six workers have mental health issues, review finds

One in six workers are struggling with mental health issues, a new report suggests.

Around 15% of those in work in England have symptoms of a mental health problem, according to a major review into mental health in the workplace.

Meanwhile people with mental health problems are losing their jobs at double the rate of people without such conditions, according to the Government-commissioned review.

The independent review - conducted by Paul Farmer, the chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, and Lord Stevenson, the former chairman of HBOS - estimated that around 300,000 people with a long-term mental health condition lose their jobs every year.

Analysis by Deloitte for the review suggests that mental ill health costs employers up to £42 billion every year.

Half of this is accounted for by so-called presenteeism - when individuals are in work but are less productive due to poor mental health - with additional costs from sickness absence and staff turnover.

Costs associated with poor mental health for the Government are up to £27 billion a year, this includes costs for providing benefits, falls in tax revenue and costs to the NHS.

The annual cost to the UK economy has been estimated as up to £99 billion.

The review highlights that for every £1 spent on investing in Mental Health in the workplace, there was an average £4.20 return.

Prime Minister Theresa May commissioned the Stevenson/Farmer review at the start of the year.

The pair made 40 recommendations for employers, government and regulators.

The reviewers called on all employers, regardless of size or industry, to adopt six "mental health core standards" to enhance workplace mental health.

These include making a mental health at work plan, enhancing awareness among workers, encouraging conversations on the subject and routinely monitoring employee mental health and wellbeing.

Large employers and the public sector have been challenged to go further through external reporting and designated leadership responsibility.

The Government has announced that the NHS and Civil Service, two of the country's largest employers, will abide by the recommendations that apply to them in the report.

This means that more than two million public sector workers will receive tailored in-house mental health support.

Meanwhile, the review made a series of suggestions for Government, including making Statutory Sick Pay more flexible and encouraging the NHS to make sure mental health support was "accessible, high quality and fits around work".

Officials said the Government would respond to the wider recommendations in due course.

Mr Farmer said: "We found that in many workplaces, mental health is still a taboo subject and that opportunities are missed to prevent poor mental health and ensure employees who may be struggling get the support they need."

Lord Stevenson added: "In light of the demonstrable impact of poor workplace wellbeing on individuals, employers and the UK economy, we are calling on the Government to accept the recommendations in full, and to introduce the core standards in the public sector.

"It's time for every employer to recognise their responsibilities and affect change, so that the UK becomes a world leader in workplace wellbeing for all staff and in supporting people with mental health problems to thrive at work."

Mrs May said: "I have made it a priority of this government to tackle the injustice of mental illness...

"It is only by making this an everyday concern for everyone that we change the way we see mental illness so that striving to improve your mental health, whether at work or at home, is seen as just as positive as improving our physical wellbeing."

The Prime Minister also plans to write to all Metro Mayors and key business groups to draw attention to the review and encourage them to implement the recommendations in their organisations and across their networks.

Public Health England said it would continue to produce guidance and support for employers to help them improve the mental health and wellbeing of their staff.

Meanwhile Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), which provides free information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations, has mental health guidance on its website which can be found at

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: "The NHS welcomes the practical steps set out in this important work and will seek to embrace it in its own right as our country's largest employer."

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