Published to coincide with Time to Talk Day 2019, a survey from the Institute of Directors (IoD) reveals that workplace pressure is seen as a major contributing factor to mental health issues among business leaders.

Of the 500 directors and managers polled, more than half said they had experienced poor mental health that was, in part, connected to factors such as a lack of work-life balance and heavy workloads.

Interim IoD Director General Edwin Morgan said: “There has rightly been a growing focus in recent years on companies paying much greater attention to the wellbeing of their staff, but these figures are a reminder that mental health issues can affect anyone”.

When asked what would have the biggest positive impact on business leaders’/entrepreneurs’ mental health, more than half (56%) said greater engagement on the issues with peer networks, such as other directors.

Almost as many (46%) said implementing flexible work arrangements (including remote working and job-sharing).

Although most business leaders had been approached by staff about mental health problems, almost half said mental health and wellbeing was not actively promoted in their organisation, while only a quarter were able to offer mental health training for management.

“It’s crucial that smaller firms in particular have access to straightforward information and guidance on what they can do to address mental health in the workplace, for the benefit of staff and leadership alike”, Mr Morgan argued.

It is noticeable that more than twice as many respondents cited “lack of appropriate information and guidance” (46%) as “lack of financial resources” (21%) when asked why their organisation did not offer mental health training for management.

See for more details of Time to Talk Day and of the resources available through this campaign.

Comment from CEO of Health Assured David Price

This survey reminds employers of the importance of ensuring the mental health and wellbeing of a workforce.

Although it may seem beneficial to the business that some employees are taking on increased workloads at the expense of their outside commitments, employers should bear in mind that the resulting stress can lead to the employees becoming disillusioned in their role and potentially developing a mental illness.

It should also be remembered that employees are increasingly placing importance on the support and flexibility that a company offers and may look elsewhere for employment if this is not an option in their current role.

Last reviewed 18 February 2019