The government’s new report shows the massive cost of ignoring mental health in the workplace. We need to act now – and Happy City is ready.
Today the government published its Thriving at Work report, a major review of the impact of mental health on workplaces, workers and the national purse. The message is clear – keeping our heads in the sand will continue to drain our mental health and public funds. Here is a fantastic opportunity to face the challenge head on and start seeing the change we need.
The financial impact eats up the column inches – an estimated £99m public price tag – but it’s the cost to individual businesses and the devastation to around 300,000 lives a year that should surely motivate us to act.
The report stresses the importance of businesses creating space to discuss mental illness, to monitor and act when mental ill health strikes. But here at Happy City we work with organisations large and small to encourage a more proactive and effective approach to wellbeing to build our capacity to thrive.
Just as the health service can save both cost and human heartache by encouraging us all to develop our physical health, not merely deal with sickness when it arises, so it is with mental health. There is much we can do, individually and collectively, to ensure we are better able to withstand and grow through life’s inevitable challenges.
Yet in the workplace, the community and in the home, we take our mental ‘health’ for granted, not giving it any regard until the cracks appear, and even then often sweeping it under the carpet for fear of being judged.
Happy City’s Happiness Pulse is a means for all workers to assess their current wellbeing, and start to explore for themselves, and with their employers, how to improve it, and with a specially tailored workplace pulse out later this year, the opportunity for employers to fine tune their support will only grow. Our Wellbeing Workout training takes a day of an employee’s life, in return for a lifetime of knowledge and simple techniques to develop and retain mental ‘health’ in the true sense of the word.
So we welcome this report, and encourage every employer in the land to heed its warnings. Let’s not wait until our employees become a statistic for us to report, but start to measure, understand and improve the wellbeing of everyone in and outside of the workplace.
• Why not share this with your boss if you think they might learn something from it?
Liz Zeidler, chief executive, Happy City