Companies are falling short of setting mental health targets in the workplace, according to this study

The study found a "disconnect" between businesses recognising workers' mental health as an important issue and formal commitments to address it.

(Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The study found a "disconnect" between businesses recognising workers' mental health as an important issue and formal commitments to address it.

Poor mental health costs UK employers up to £56 billion a year, so it's no surprise that businesses are figuring out that it makes financial sense to address the issue. But although many companies are talking the talk, less of them are actually walking the walk, according to a new study.

The release, which comes via the British charity investment manager CCLA, shows a glaring gap between recognition of mental health in the workplace as a key business issue and tangible efforts to address it, such as setting targets or making public commitments.

As reported by Reuters, Amy Browne, stewardship lead at CCLA said of the findings:

"There may be no shortage of mental health initiatives in the international workplace, but when it comes to integrating mental health into formal management systems and processes, most global companies have much further to go.""There is clear evidence to show that improving the mental health of an organisation saves money and that the financial ramifications of failing to improve corporate mental health are profound."

CCLA assessed the mental health management of 100 of its listed groups and found that only three in 20 firms had published mental health targets.

💭 How should employers support staff when it comes to mental health?Our latest research looked at promising approaches for supporting mental health in the workplace with a focus on understanding what works, for whom and in what context. ⤵️— Wellcome (@wellcometrust) October 10, 2022

Dealing with mental health in the workplace is a big issue for businesses. Research from Deloitte published earlier this year found that of the employees surveyed who had left their jobs in 2021 - or were considering doing so in 2022 - 61% cited poor mental health as their reason for leaving.

Earlier this week, the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) also warned that the NHS are facing an ‘impossible task of tackling rising demand’ for mental health treatment.

Mental health is a leading cause of sickness absence, and while it can feel scary to open up about how you're feeling at work, it can be helpful.

In our guide on how to talk about your mental health, Professor Cary Cooper, author of Wellbeing at Work and Professor of Organisational Psychology at the Alliance Manchester Business School, shared this useful advice:

“The best person to talk to initially is your line manager. However, that boss has to be a person that you feel you can talk to. If your boss is not a good listener, or you know that he or she is not a very tolerant person and won’t listen to you then think about going to HR instead.”

If you're struggling and need support, the Samaritans helpline is available 24/7 by calling 116 123. 

Amy Sedghi

Amy Sedghi is a freelance journalist, specialising in health and fitness, travel, beauty, sustainability and cycling.

Having started her career in The Guardian newsroom working with an award-winning team, Amy's proud to have reported on a variety of topics, speaking to a range of voices and travelling far and wide to do so. From interviews on ski lifts to writing up breaking stories outside courtrooms, Amy is used to reporting from a range of locations (she’s even been known to type up a story in a tent).

She also loves being active, spending time outdoors and travelling - with some of her favourite features she’s worked on combining all three. Cycling and eating her way round the Isle of Man, learning to sail on the Côte d'Azur and traversing the Caminito del Rey path in Spain are just some of her highlights.

Covering a diverse range of subjects appeals to Amy. One minute she may be writing about her online styling session with Katie Holmes’ stylist and the next she’s transporting readers to the basketball courts of Haringey where she joined a group trying to lower knife crime in the capital.

While at university, Amy was awarded The Media Society bursary. Following her stint at the Guardian, Amy worked at Google and as well as writing for Marie Claire, she regularly contributes interviews, features and articles to National Geographic Traveller, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, Stylist, Refinery29, Glorious Sport, Cycling Weekly and Rouleur.

When she’s not writing, Amy can be found trying to get through her towering stack of books-to-read, cycling down at Herne Hill Velodrome or looking for the next place to eat and drink with friends.