Dorset Charity tackles rising cost of mental ill-health to the economy

A report published today by Mind states that 300,000 people with a long term mental health problem lose their jobs each year. Analysis by Deloitte.

The Mental Health at Work Report 2017 was published on 4th October 2017 and reports that there remains a pervasive culture of silence over mental health at work. Report by Business in the Community.

Local Charity Dorset Mind will launch “Dorset Mind Works” to help employers and employees support mental health in the workplace

Mind’s independent review into workplace mental health, commissioned by the Prime Minister in January has today published its report, Thriving at Work. The review, led by former HBOS Chair Dennis Stevenson and Mind CEO Paul Farmer, looks at how employers can better support all employees.  This should help ensure people with poor mental health or wellbeing remain in and thrive at work.

Statistics from the Department of Work and Pensions reveal that 300,000 people with a long-term mental health problem lose their jobs each year. Analysis by Deloitte, commissioned by the reviewers, also reveals a demonstrable cost to employers.  It quantifies for the first time how investing in supporting mental health at work is good for business and productivity.

Poor mental health costs the UK economy between £74 billion and £99 billion a year.  Deloitte’s analysis shows that the cost to employers is between £33 billion and £42 billion of this number. Evaluations of workplace interventions show a return to business of between £1.50 and £9 for every £1 invested.

Drawing on the accounts of over 200 employers of people with mental health problems and leading experts in mental health and work, Thriving at Work sets out core principles and standards that all employers should commit to.  It highlights examples of some employers who are taking positive and innovative steps to support the mental health of their employees.

The reviewers are calling on all employers, regardless of size or industry, to adopt six ‘mental health core standards’ that lay the basic foundations for an approach to workplace mental health. These cover mental health at work plans, mental health awareness for employees, line management responsibilities and routine monitoring of staff mental health and wellbeing. Large employers and the public sector are expected to go even further, demonstrating best practice through external reporting and designated leadership responsibility.

The full report can be viewed on the website.

Dorset Mind’s Board of Trustees have recognised this growing problem, and have made plans to work with employers in Dorset to tackle the problem.

‘Dorset Mind Works’ is a comprehensive programme, based on the six principles of Thriving at Work that helps employers to create a mentally healthy workplace. It will guide companies through a process to create an environment where staff are as mentally healthy as they possibly can be and where talking about mental health is no longer a taboo.

‘Dorset Mind Works’ will:

    •    Help organisations complete Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index to help employers find out where they are doing well and where they could improve their approach to mental health in the workplace

    •    Assist an organisation to normalise conversations about mental health at work.  A poster and social media campaign will support this. It will train managers how to talk to their teams about their mental health and encourage mental wellbeing to be an everyday topic of conversation.

    •    Provide the organisation with education programmes for staff so that everyone understands how to stay mentally healthy, how to spot signs and symptoms when mental health deteriorates and importantly, where to turn to for help

    •    Support the employer to develop the right infrastructure to create a mentally healthy workplace; policies and procedures, wellbeing support programmes.

Dorset Mind will work with each organisation to develop a mutually beneficial partnership.  The fee that Dorset Mind will charge for this will go towards providing support services in the community for people recovering from mental ill health.  This includes education and support programmes for young people as well as the staff and resources required to support the company itself.

Dorset Mind is seeking 3 Dorset-based companies to be part of the first pilot partners to benefit from ‘Dorset Mind Works’. Companies interested can contact Dorset Mind at to request further information.

Dr Andy Mayers, Dorset Mind’s Patron and Principal Academic at Bournemouth University comments, “The statistics in these two reports are frightening, but at Dorset Mind we’ve seen this coming which is why we’ve planned to offer a solution. This is a great opportunity for employers in Dorset to take advantage of a ready-made solution instead of reading these statistics and wondering what they can do about it. I urge anyone interested to get in touch with us to find out more.”

Marianne Storey Dorset Mind’s Chief Executive said, “This is simply a ‘win-win’ situation. Companies in Dorset can get the help they need to keep their staff mentally healthy and at the same time be doing their bit for local communities. We do have to charge employers to work with us to set up ‘Dorset Mind Works’ but by supporting us financially it means we can help more and more people in the community really struggling with mental health difficulties”.

Ken Heap Dorset Mind’s Chair of Trustees stated, “Once the Trustees knew that mental health problems were becoming a real issue in the workplace we knew we had to do something about it. We have some big employers in Dorset so we have a responsibility to work with them to educate them and their staff about what is good mental health and what to do when people are not mentally healthy. We think this is a very exciting opportunity for us to work in partnership with Dorset’s companies”