Employers are being urged to take the issue of mental health within their workforce seriously on Time to Talk Day.
Business in the Community (BITC) and the British Safety Council have both illustrated how important supporting employee mental health can be to businesses.
British Safety Council acting chief executive Neal Stone explained that with mental health problems the number one cause of sickness absence in the UK and one in six people suffering from anxiety, depression or stress, it was essential for people to face up to mental health in the workplace.
"Time to Talk Day is an important campaign to get this conversation going. It is not easy; the stigma associated with mental health problems is very powerful. But with employers taking some simple steps to talk to staff and build healthy workplaces, they can make a huge difference," he said.
BITC director Lousie Aston echoed this. "The culture of silence that exists around mental health results in suffering, inequality and discrimination - it is one of the biggest threats to the wellbeing of business and society.
"By ignoring it, issues that could be resolved simply can develop into more serious ill health, whereas the rewards for businesses that engage with this issue are huge. We are supporting Time to Talk Day and would encourage all businesses to join in. It only takes five minutes to start a conversation - it will not only make someone's day a lot better, but will also make your workplace a much more enjoyable place to be," she added.
Insurer Friends Life is supporting the day by emailing all staff to encourage them to have their own conversation about mental health.
Examples of the types of conversation people could have will be shared around the business and notices will be posted in its offices and on desks. Staff will also be directed to the Time to Change website.
Friends Life chief risk officer and mental health champion Rosie Harris said: "This is a great opportunity to remind people of what support is available to them in the workplace.
"The Time to Talk could be with a line manager, it could be with a friend, it could be with a partner. But it is worth taking the time to think about just how mentally resilient you are. Are there things in your work or home life that could help you improve your resilience to mental stress?"
Research from the insurer found that over 50% of all workers believed being open about a common mental health problem would damage their career prospects.
The survey conducted last year also found that 4 in 10 UK employees had experienced stress, anxiety or depression and not told their employer.
The British Safety Council has produced a new video, made in collaboration with Mind and the Centre for Mental Health, about how employers and employees need to have a conversation about mental health.
It can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR8sUNjHHHM
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