Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace

14 June 2019

The Government’s Department of Health advises that one in four of us will experience mental ill health at some point in our lives. Additionally, mental ill health costs employers in the UK £30 billion every year through lost production, recruitment and absence. It is therefore important that employers and their staff take steps to promote positive mental health and support those experiencing mental ill health.

What is mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

Mental ill health can range from feeling ‘a bit down’ to common disorders such as anxiety and depression to more severe and far less common conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Most people’s mental health will not just be continuously good. Usually it will rise and fall depending on pressures and/or experiences in their life. A person may therefore feel in good mental health generally but also experience stress or anxiety from time to time.

Why is understanding and addressing mental health important?

People that feel good about themselves often work productively, interact well with colleagues and make a valuable contribution to the workplace.

There is still a lack of understanding about mental health and misperceptions persist. It is often thought to be a sign of weakness, which it is not. A better understanding of mental health at work is therefore important because:

  • mental ill health is very common – the Government’s Department of Health advises that one in four of us will experience it at some point in our lives
  • staff with positive mental health are more likely to work productively, interact well with colleagues and adapt to changes in the workplace
  • staff supported by their employer are more likely to be able to stay in work or return to work after a period of absence, reducing long-term absences in the organisation
  • staff who feel unable to talk to their manager may attend work when they are too ill to safely carry out their duties, which could be a health and safety risk
  • if mental ill health is not treated, the pressures of it can cause other ‘secondary symptoms’. For example, the strain of coping with depression may cause someone to become dependent on alcohol or drugs.

A recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development study highlighted the impact that mental ill health can have on organisations. The study found that:

  • 37% of sufferers are more likely to get into conflict with colleagues
  • 57% find it harder to juggle multiple tasks
  • 80% find it difficult to concentrate
  • 62% take longer to do tasks
  • 50% are potentially less patient with customers/clients.

The study also found that, for the first time, stress is the major cause of long-term absence in manual and non-manual workers.

Promoting positive mental health in the workplace

Promoting positive mental health in your workplace can be hugely beneficial. Staff with good mental health are more likely to perform well, have good attendance levels and be engaged in their work.

It can take time to change an organisation’s workplace culture. An employer should therefore publicise its commitment to promoting positive mental health across the organisation. Doing this can help to start normalising the subject and encourage staff to talk to their manager (and their colleagues) about their mental health.

Doing it well

We are proud to say that our fabulous client – The Current Collective – have recently been recognised by Campaign Magazine as One of The Best Places to Work 2019 and we have been working with them to increase their wellbeing offer by providing a range of different resources and measures.

Click this link to read all about it.

Here to help

What if your organisation had a comprehensive and effective wellbeing package in place?  Contact one of our Consultants today to discuss what measures can be put in place to help your employees feel more supported in the workplace.

PSHR are on hand to offer advice and guidance please contact us on 01473 653000 or at





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