Economic success relies on mental wellbeing, suggests study

Employees who can talk freely and openly to senior co-workers about mental illness are more productive in the workplace, a new report has revealed.

The London School of Economics (LSE), which published the research, found that unsupported workers take more time off work than those who receive help and guidance from bosses.

The study follows new research which shows that mental illness is having a huge effect on UK productivity, costing the economy almost £35 billion in 2016 alone.

Likewise, research found that 70 per cent of mentally ill people admit hiding their condition from the workplace for fear of discrimination.

Dr Sara Evans-Lacko, from LSE, said: “Our research shows that where employers create a culture of avoidance around talking about depression, employees themselves end up avoiding work and even when they return to work they are not as productive as they could be.”

The report shows that just 53 per cent of managers have offered workers “proactive support”, indicating the urgency for mental health training among all managers and senior staff.

“More training and better workplace policies could help managers to recognise symptoms sooner and provide support – helping the individual and reducing the cost to employers at the same time,” said Dr Evans-Lacko.

Emma Mamo, the head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, added: “We want employers to create an environment where staff feel able to talk openly about these issues, and know that if they do, they’ll be met with support and understanding, not stigma or discrimination.

“Smart employers recognise the value of attracting a diverse workforce, including those who are currently living with, or have previously experienced, a mental health problem.”

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