Poor mental health costs UK employers up to £45bn each year – a rise of 16%, or £6bn, since 2016, an analysis shows.
The research by Deloitte suggests that for every £1 spent on supporting employees’ mental health, employers get £5 back on their investment in reduced presenteeism, absenteeism and staff turnover.
It shows that a higher return on investment can be achieved by early interventions, such as organisation-wide culture change and education, than more in-depth support that may be needed at a later stage when a person is struggling.
The latest research builds on work conducted by Deloitte in 2017 for the Stevenson-Farmer Review on workplace mental health, which calculated that poor mental health cost UK employers between £33bn and £42bn a year.
Since then, there have been positive changes in workplaces, including greater openness in discussing mental health at work and more provision of support overall.
Despite this progress, costs continue to climb. Deloitte said this can be attributed largely to a significant rise in mental health-related presenteeism, where employees work when they are not at their most productive.
Employers lose the equivalent of 8.3%Source: Deloitte
of the salaries of those aged 18 to 29 as a result
of poor mental health
Mental health-related absenteeism and staff turnover have also contributed to the costs overall.
Elizabeth Hampson, Deloitte director and author of the report, said although an increased use of technology can enhance working practices, having the ability to work outside of normal working hours can add to the challenge of maintaining good mental health, and make it hard for some to disconnect from an always-on culture.
The report shows younger people are the most vulnerable demographic in the workplace to poor mental health.
Employers lose the equivalent of 8.3% of the salaries of those aged 18 to 29 as a result of poor mental health – the highest of any employee age group.
Young people are also less likely to disclose mental health problems to employers and more likely to use their holiday instead of taking days off work.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “As presenteeism costs three times more than sick leave, we need to look at supporting employers to change the culture so their staff feel able to take time off when they are unwell.”