At the FSB’s monthly 1066 Connect breakfast, Sarah Nash (pictured) the Healthy Workplace Programme Co-ordinator at East Sussex County Council, spoke about mental health at work and a free conference taking place in Eastbourne.
The statistics around mental health are staggering – 3 out of 5 employees will experience mental health issues due to work. According to the Mental Health Foundation, mental health problems accounted for 15.4 million sick leave days in 2017/18. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reviewed half a decade of statistics about the health of its members and identified that mental health issues made up 17% of its referrals to its medical care and advice service FSB Care, second only to orthopaedic conditions (35%). The cost to business is therefore considerable. Sarah explained that an employee with depression costs an employer an average of £2730 per year.
“With stress often an underlying factor when physical conditions present, the impact of mental health issues could be even more acute than the data shows,” said Martin Searle, FSB’s Development Manager for Sussex. “In more enlightened times, it is now imperative that business people get better equipped to manage themselves and to recognise and support people experiencing a mental health problem.” On 16 October East Sussex Public Health and partners, which includes FSB, will be hosting a Mental Health at Work conference in order to help business better understand mental health and the impact it can have at work. The conference will be held in the brand new Welcome Building, Devonshire Park, Eastbourne. The conference will tackle the stigma of poor mental health at work, help spot the early warning signs, show how to support people affected by poor mental health and provide greater awareness of the services and resources that are around for support. Businesses are urged to attend the free conference which can be booked on line by searching East Sussex Mental Health at Work Conference.
“An employer that actively promotes wellbeing in the workplace is eight times more likely to have employees that are fully engaged in their work. Learning how to build a positive culture around mental health in your workforce is vital for any business, of any size,” said Sarah Nash, adding, “It was a pleasure to attend the FSB breakfast this morning and to see businesses openly facing up to and discussing mental health at work. We look forward to as many business people as possible coming along to the Mental Health at Work conference in Eastbourne on 16 October. We all have a part to play in destigmatising mental health, encouraging actions that promote good mental health and supporting our colleagues if they are facing challenges.”