Financial Times

Health at Work magazine

How companies can benefit from aiding mental health

Following on from our ongoing Not A Red Card campaign, Nigel Wilson speaks about how good employers recognise that it's in their best interest to offer support services to those who need it.

One in four people suffers mental ill-health at any point. Indirectly, through family, colleagues and friends, almost everyone encounters it. As a significant employer and insurer, we know how serious the problem can be. Thriving at Work, the 2017 UK government-sponsored review of employer support for mental health, estimated the annual cost to UK employers of poor mental health was between £33bn and £42bn. More than half of the cost was due to “presenteeism”, when people come in to work but are unfit to do so.

Mental health problems — typically stress, anxiety and depression — account for 40 per cent of Legal & General’s income protection claims, just behind musculoskeletal problems. De-stigmatisation drives truthful reporting. I hugely admire those corporate leaders who are open and honest about personal mental health issues, likewise the sports personalities leading by example through our Not a Red Card campaign to encourage people to talk about mental health in the workplace. But we are still far from achieving parity of esteem between physical and mental health.

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