Today saw the publication of the Thriving at Work report commissioned by the Prime Minister in January this year and written by Paul Farmer CBE, Chief Executive of MIND and Lord Stevenson, the former Chairman of HBOS who has been open about his own struggle with clinical depression.

This is a far reaching report, a copy of which can be accessed online, and comments that “the UK is facing a mental health challenge at work than is much larger than we had thought.  Not only is there a big human cost of poor mental health at work, there are also knock on impacts for society, the economy and Government.  Employers are losing billions of pounds because the employees are less productive, less effective or off sick.

Happily the report also goes on to state that “our research has found green shoots for good practice” and to recommend “change being encouraged by increasing employer transparency – not only internally to their employees, but also across industries and through the public domain”.

The report sets out its vision in a letter to the Prime Minister, which is as follows:

  • Employees in all types of employment will have “good work” which contributes positively to their mental health, our society and our economy.
  • Every one of us will have the knowledge, tools and confidence to understand and look after our own mental health and the mental health of those around us;
  • All organisations, whatever their size, will be:
    • equipped with the awareness and tools to not only address but prevent mental ill-health caused or worsened by work;
    • equipped to support individuals with a mental health condition to thrive, from recruitment and throughout the organisation; and
    • aware of how to get access to timely help to reduce sickness absence caused by mental ill- health; and
  • We dramatically reduce the proportion of people with a long term mental health condition who leave employment each year and ensure that all those who can, benefit from the positive impacts of good work.

In terms of the cost to employers of poor mental health, the report estimates that the annual cost to UK employers is somewhere between £33 and £42 billion, with the overall cost of poor mental health to the economy as a whole being between £79 and £99 billion.

Rather than attempt to summarise such a far reaching and important report in one go, our aim is to do a “deep dive” into the report over the next week or so, looking at the mental health core standards and framework that it suggests and how employers can implement these suggestions.

We will be sharing our views on the report both on this blog and also in our dedicated mental health/stress and workplace wellbeing LinkedIn group, where we encourage our contacts in HR, Talent Management and People Management to share best practice and queries on these vital important issues.  We hope that you will engage with us also.