12th Sep, 2020 Read time 3 minutes

New findings from Deloitte refresh the case for investment in mental health support at work

The increased focus on mental health in the workplace has helped to provide new ideas and solutions to the daily struggles that many face when going through their working lives. An estimated 1 in 6 workers will be experiencing mental health problems at any given time whether it be down to stress, depression anxiety or another issue.


Deloitte has built upon the 2017 report into mental health

The 2017 report from Deloitte looked at mental health and the case for investment in this underserved area of health and safety. The report was well publicised and built upon the company’s contribution to the Thriving at work: Stevenson-Farmer independent review into workplace mental health.

The report did generate some perceived benefits including the reduction in stigma around mental health and greater support for employees working in larger organisations. However, some of the negative findings included an increase in workers being unable to ‘disconnect’ from working life given the increasing use of technology. Additionally, the report also found that casual work had negative consequences for employee mental wellbeing.


Deloitte has recently released an updated report which looks at ‘refreshing the case for investment’ in the area.


How much does poor mental health cost the world of work?

In the report, the estimated cost to business is up to £45bn in total which is made up from £7bn in absence, £27bn in presenteeism and £9bn in the cost of staff turnover. These are the three main where having poor mental health policies in place can seriously impact your company’s finances.

Unsurprisingly the cost is significantly higher in the private sector with an estimated £33-35.2bn bill as appose to the £9.0-9.5bn forecasted in the public sector.

Surprisingly, financial incentives have not driven more senior teams to invest more heavily in mental health. Original research conducted by the HSE Network indicated that over 55% of employees are unaware of any mental health facilities in the workplace. This is an indicator of the lack of investment in the sector and aligns with many of the findings in the new report from Deloitte.


What can employers do to improve the mental health of staff?


The findings of the HSE Network and Deloitte are both indicative of the need for greater focus and investment in the field of mental health. Of the sample of Deloitte’s surveyed workers, 44% said they would feel comfortable talking with a line manager about their mental well-being. This shows the challenges ahead with around 1 in 4 workers fearing negative consequences if they make their mental health issues formal.


In addition to the focus around developing soft skills in managers, the Deloitte findings also suggest businesses need to take a more data-driven approach to managing mental well-being at work. Using insights from predictive analytics to indicate where workers may be showing signs of poor mental health (absenteeism, missed targets etc) and developing targeted interventions is one way that employers can develop a better system for increasing the overall support for workers, beyond the sometimes nebulous advice of developing and nurturing an open culture.


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