"Wasn't there enough done for Mental Health last year? Was it not just a "Fad" for 2017 due to the Royals getting involved? I am a 'Micro or SME' Business and cannot afford these expensive Workplace Wellbeing Programs! What will it REALLY do for my Business, by getting involved? "

These are a selection of the points/questions that will be covered within this article, however, first thing's first: A very Happy New Year to one and all, may 2018 prove to be as productive and successful, as you have planned.

So then, Workplace Mental Health is the topic and we shall be looking at, how you can go about ensuring that you and your business, regardless of size, takes ownership of Mental Health in 2018 and why you should in the first place? 

Let's start off with listing some of the basic facts, which whilst I am sure that many of you may have seen before, bear with me, as I will cover a different angle for you shortly;

  • One in four of us will suffer from some form of mental health problem during our lives.
  • Mental health costs the UK £70bn per year, equivalent to 4.5% of GDP (OECD).
  • Mental ill-health costs each employer on average £1,035 per employee, per year (Sainsbury Centre for mental health).
  • There are 15.2m sick days per year due to stress, anxiety or depression (Office for national      Statistics).
  • Failure to unlock  discretionary effort costs UK business £6bn (BUPA).
  • Only 2 in 5 employees are working at peak performance (CIPD) this is commonly referred to as      "Presenteeism". 

Devastating facts, in fact really quite scary ones I am sure that most of you will agree. BUT, you have a business to run with numerous overheads and if you take on anymore, this could lead to redundancies, at which point certain individuals really WILL be stressed! 

I hear you and can totally relate to this from my own experiences in running a business, therefore I can truly understand the feelings and thoughts you might have on this subject. However, there are some very cost effective and basic steps you can take, along with standard strategies that you can later implement as a progression from these steps, all of which, will provide various returns on your investment. Such as;

  • Increased Retention (reducing Attrition).
  • Reduced Recruitment costs.
  • Provide, or enhance, Workplace Incentives for your employees.
  • Enhanced Brand Appeal - for employees to be Proud of and Loyal to, Attracting a higher standard of  prospective employees and to the wider community, prospective clients.
  • Enhanced working environment.
  • Increased overall Productivity.
  • Reduced Sickness/Long Term Sick costs.
  • The 'Feel Good' factor, as it is the right thing to do! 

Whilst 2017 saw a huge increase in the awareness of Mental Health, in thanks predominantly to the HRH Royals with their 'Heads Together' campaign. Combined with the considerable hard work of various organisations such as MIND, Mental Health Foundation and RETHINK, to mention but a few, meant 2017 did see a surge, however, we need to ALL ensure the momentum is carried on through 2018 and beyond.

So what do you do exactly? A great starting point would be to download one of the attachments from MIND and the Mental Health Foundation, then click on the link to visit their websites. The key though is gaining a better Understanding and Knowledge of the subject, from this, you will gain some clarity and have a clearer idea of how the information can be actioned, then disseminated to relevant individuals or employees.

It is recognised though, that employers cannot be wholly responsible for their employees’ mental and physical wellness, with each individual within the workforce requiring to get engaged in a positive and proactive manner, for any Workplace Mental Health initiative to be successful. However, employers can and do influence the wellbeing of their staff, simply by being seen to initiate and support various initiatives, whilst they also cannot ignore a direct link to the level of productivity within the business, having both a duty of care and vested interest in actively supporting their people. 

Start taking your first step towards Owning Mental Health in 2018, by researching your companies data, download the attachments, gain a better understanding and build on your knowledge surrounding Workplace Mental Health. Begin your planning now, with a view of initiating your own Workplace Mental Health initiative at the start of your new financial year. Together we can carry forth the wonderful momentum of 2017, to bring about real change within the workplace, for the good and benefit of us all in 2018 and beyond.

There will be further articles published over the coming months, with each also being displayed at www.wilsonslife.co.uk/news and you can contact me on inspireme@wilsonslife.co.uk