Business leaders hope to end ‘stifling’ culture of silence on mental health

Business in the Community’s (BITC) Workwell campaign and the leaders of major UK businesses are collaborating to end the culture of silence around mental health in the workplace.

The group launched its inaugural report, Mental Health: We’re Ready to Talk, developed in association with mental health charity Mind, as part of Responsible Business Week. The report finds that the culture of silence around mental health is stifling UK business productivity and competitiveness, and outlines the benefits for businesses that proactively engage with mental health and wellbeing.

The overall cost of mental health to the UK economy is estimated at £70 billion per year. Two-fifths of organisations saw an increase in mental health problems last year, up from one-fifth in 2009.  Stress, anxiety or depression accounted for 15.2 million days of sickness absence in 2013 – a dramatic increase of 3.4 million days compared to 2010 (11.8 million). Fewer than half of those affected by mental ill health feel confident to disclose their condition, which can lead to issues become more severe.

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