9 March 2017

Employers should start talking about mental health issues in the workplace, the Institute of Directors (IoD) has urged, after a survey shows that more than half (54%) of its members have been approached by staff suffering mental ill health.

Yet despite an overwhelming majority (98%) of business leaders agreeing that good mental health is important to the performance of their organisation, barely 20% offer line management training and only 14% have a formal mental health policy in place.

Now, in a new report, the IoD has called on business leaders to institute formal mental health and wellbeing policies and to appoint a non-executive director to help ensure greater openness on mental health across their organisations.

The Institute also wants the Government to trial a training scheme for small business owners to help them to develop mental health policies, and to make greater efforts to communicate existing schemes, such as Time to Change, to a wider range of employers.

Launching the report, the IoD’s Director General, Stephen Martin, argued that the time has come for mental health to get the recognition it deserves at work.

"Coming from a background in construction, I know the lengths companies go to protect the physical health of their staff, but their mental wellbeing has often not received enough attention," he said.

Addressing mental health issues is not just about welfare, but about business and commerce too, Mr Martin explained, and equipping business leaders with more mental health literacy could well contribute to a real rise in Britain’s productivity.

The IoD report "A little more conversation: Mental health in the changing world of work" can be found at http://bit.ly/2mcfHa1.