Nearly 15 per cent of people experience mental health problems at work, according to the Mental Health Foundation, and the wider impact is estimated to knock between £70 and £100bn a year off UK GDP.
For business bosses that means there is both a moral and a financial imperative to ensure they are looking after their own, as well as their employees’ mental wellbeing.
But before you can start to ensure better care, you have to create the environment that normalises the conversation. For Felix Koch, CEO EMEA and APAC of customer agency C Space, that starts from the top.
"I started seeing my therapist seven years ago and have been going every Saturday since. It was spurred by two events really. The first was becoming a new father - I wanted to learn more about our new family dynamic.
"The second was that I’d been turned down for a new job that I really wanted. I was devastated and surprised by the level of the rejection I felt. After sitting in the chair for an hour, it felt as if a heavy rucksack had been removed from my back.
"I’m very open with my staff about the benefits of therapy and everyone at work knows I go. It’s about normalising mental health at work, removing the taboo around mental illness and sharing the idea that it is okay to talk about it. That it’s ok not to be ok.
"Therapeutic intervention has worked for me. Most people take a shower every day. Why wouldn’t we want to have a regular process to do something similar for the mind? I know that it doesn't work for everyone, and of course not everyone has the luxury to go, but it helped me and I want to share that. Nearly 70% of C Space staff in a recent survey said that "mental health is something that we talk about frequently or occasionally*."
The Mental Health Foundation offers advice on how businesses can support mental health at work.
*The split numbers are: 18% for "frequently" and 51% for "occasionally".
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