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Today is World Mental Health Day, and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England is calling on employers to find out how they can support the mental wellbeing of staff.
Mental ill health is the third biggest cause of absence in the workplace. In 2014-15, stress accounted for 35% of all work-related ill-health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health (HSE, 2015).
Added to this, “presenteeism” accounts for 1.5 times more lost productivity than absences (Centre for Mental Health, 2010). The financial cost is huge: mental health associated absences cost UK employers an estimated £26 billion a year, which equates to an average of more than £1,000 per employee (Centre for Mental Health, 2007).
MHFA England CEO Poppy Jaman explains: “Despite all the good work that’s being done to normalise conversations around mental health, stigma does still exist, which makes it hard for people to feel that they can talk openly about their mental wellbeing, particularly in the workplace. It’s vital that more is done to encourage discussions about mental health, between colleagues and also between staff and their managers. We all have mental health, just as we have physical health, but it can seem more difficult to spot the signs of mental ill health.”
Mental health first aid (MHFA) is the mental health equivalent of a physical first-aid course, and MHFA England is leading the way in increasing the number of mental health first aiders, by providing participants with the skills and confidence to recognise the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues and effectively guide a person towards the rig