Only a quarter of people with long-term mental health problems are in work

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Only one in four people who have a long-term mental health issue are in employment, new research by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has found.

The research also discovered that those with depression or anxiety were adversely affected, with just 45.5 per cent of those suffering with either of these conditions for more than a year being in work. In contrast, four out of five non-disabled people are working, as are half (50.2 per cent) of all disabled people as defined by the Equality Act.

The TUC is calling on employers to take action to support staff with mental health problems, including making reasonable accommodations to help them carry out their job, and to consult with affected employees to find out what changes would most benefit them.

Meanwhile, Professor Sir Cary Cooper, 50th anniversary professor of organisational psychology and health at Manchester Business School, stressed that more needed to be done to identify mental health problems early to prevent them from becoming a long-term issue. He said businesses should either “invest now or really big time pay later”.

Cooper also noted the current economic and political environment meant employees would be particularly vulnerable to stress, not only thanks to the changing nature of work and growing reliance on the gig economy, but also because of the uncertainty caused by Brexit. “People are worried about this, really worried, because of the uncertainty,” he said.

The TUC findings come a day after Office for National Statistics figures revealed that unemployment had reached its lowest level since 1975. Prime minister Theresa May has already pledged to expand legislation so that it better protects workers with mental health problems should the Conservatives win this June’s general election.

But recent research also suggests workplaces are still falling short on their health and wellbeing offerings. A survey published by insurer Aviva earlier this week found that almost half (43 per cent) of employees believe their boss puts business performance ahead of health. And in a study published in March by charity Mind, a quarter (26 per cent) of employees who described their mental health as poor said work was the main reason.

If you feel your business needs advice or guidance on the issues discussed in this article, or a wide range of topics, then please contact High Performance Consultancy. We are a UK leading specialist in Employment law, HR and Health and Safety Services, we can be contacted on the form below or call us on 0843 509 4543.

To read the People Management article on this issue, please follow this link.

 

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