Why is Mental Health Awareness at Work important?

Dec 15, 2021 | First Aid

1. 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

According to Mind UK, 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health issue every year.

With at least a quarter of the country’s population facing a mental health issue, and most of the country spending their day in the workplace, ignoring the issues your employees are facing will only impact your workplace negatively.

2. Only 13% of employees feel comfortable talking about mental health issues in the workplace.

Just 13% of employees in the UK would feel comfortable talking to employers and coworkers about mental health at work, a study by Time to Change found.

Some employers may argue that they haven’t had any issues surrounding mental health in the workplace, but this could be far from the truth if their employees simply aren’t talking about it. If employees don’t feel comfortable discussing mental health at work, then it could be the case that your employees feel that your workplace is not a supportive environment for conversations around mental health.

In this situation, you will never understand the scope that mental health has on your business, and you won’t understand how much it could be costing you.

The fact that the majority of employees would feel uncomfortable starting a conversation surrounding mental health is just one of the reasons why the issue is never addressed at work, and mental health at work awareness is not a priority for most employers.

3. Mental health issues are the #1 cause of sick days in the UK.

It’s no surprise that sick days aren’t a favourite of the employer. Unexpected employee sicknesses can mean re-organising plans, covering shifts, lost productivity, and stress for the employer. However, most businesses aren’t aware that mental health is the leading cause of sick days in the UK, and sick days can be easily reduced by putting a mental health awareness plan in place and addressing mental health awareness in the workplace.

4. Mental health issues cost employers up to £42 billion per year.

£42 billion a year. That’s a lot of money spent on mental health issues this year when the better investment would be implementing a mental health initiative in the workplace. According to the Stevenson/Farmer report, the average cost to the employer is between £33 billion and £42 billion per year, while the UK Government fork up between £24 billion and £27 billion towards poor mental health per year.

This adds up to a cost of between £74 billion and £99 billion per year for poor mental health in the UK.

5. 300,000 people with a long-term mental health condition leave work every year.

The significant challenges that facing a mental issue face at work, and the effects that a workplace can have on an existing mental health issue can have, mean that 300,000 individuals leave or lose their jobs each year.

Not only is this stressful and upsetting for the employee, but reflects on the company as wasted productivity, workflow disruption, and difficulty attracting and retaining talent due to a high turnover rate.

6. Programmes addressing mental health issues can present up to 800% return on investment.

Studies have shown time again that investing into mental health programmes such as Mental Health Awareness or Mental Health First Aid training can provide a positive return on investment.

It has been estimated that employers can see a £4.20 (with a range between 40p to £9) return on investment for every £1 spent on mental health training and other initiatives promoting positive mental health amongst employees.


The importance of mental health awareness at work is constantly on the rise, and the majority of studies show that investing in initiatives to improve mental health at work will positively impact the business and employees who work there.

Investing in programmes such as mental health training can provide a return on investment while promoting a workplace culture that understands and respects mental health awareness.

Raising awareness of mental health problems at work, encouraging employees to talk about the issues they are facing, and accommodating individuals suffering from mental health issues are just some of the steps we can take to improve mental health in the workplace.

First Aid Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive news, upcoming course information, and important updates.