Helen Green

Prioritising mental health

Talk in the press may be all about the gender pay gap at the moment but it’s not the only issue on the leadership agenda. A survey by BUPA has revealed that for 65% of businesses the mental health of employees is now a boardroom priority. In fact, the issue of mental health has risen up the corporate agenda so much that in 29% of businesses it has overtaken physical well-being as a boardroom priority.

The days in which mental well-being was seen as a purely private matter have long gone with leaders increasingly recognising the interaction between work and home life as well as the important role which businesses have to play in supporting their employees’ mental well-being. There is still some way to go though; with the report revealing that although 96% of businesses want to help their people, 57% were uncertain about the best way to provide support.

Although some 743,000 employees took long-term absence in the last twelve months due to mental health problems, this isn’t purely an absentee issue. Mental well-being can impact across the board from interactions with colleagues, customers and others to decision-making and task completion. It’s hardly surprising therefore that this has become a boardroom priority; with approach, culture and understanding key to providing successful and appropriate support.