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Majority of businesses lack mental health policy

Three-quarters of employers don't have a workplace mental health policy, research by the Institute of Directors (IoD) and YouGov has found.

The survey of 1,150 employees and 586 employers shows a lack of provision for the discussion of, and support for, work-related mental health issues in many British businesses. 77% of employers are yet to introduce a mental health policy in the workplace, while just 7% have had discussions with employees about mental health issues in the last year.

The research found:

  • 74% of employees prefer not to discuss mental health concerns with people in the workplace
  • 32% of employees say that anxiety and stress affect their workplace productivity
  • 93% of businesses say that stress affects the performance of their staff
  • 82% of companies think they should introduce a mental health policy to promote emotional wellbeing.

Simon Walker, director general of the IoD, said:

"Huge progress has been made, but society still has a long way to go in increasing awareness and understanding of mental health issues. Businesses have an enormous role to play in creating an environment where such issues can be discussed openly, effectively and safely."

Sue Baker, director of mental health programme Time for Change, said:

"It is encouraging to see that the majority of companies recognise they should do more and we have hundreds of examples of employers, from all sectors, who have already seen the benefits of implementing changes including mental health awareness for all staff, training for line managers, and improvements in the support offered to staff."

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