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While a growing number of celebrities and even members of the British Royal family speaking out about their struggles with mental health, it’s fair to say that for many this is still a difficult
conversation to have.

Likewise, when a manager becomes aware that one of their team is having problems related to their mental health and wellbeing, they too often feel out of their depth.

What needs to happen to change this response? Because the facts are that in the workplace, this is a growing health and wellbeing issue for employers.

The Stevenson Farmer Review

In October 2017 an independent review was published. It reported on the scale of the problem and made recommendations related to how the situation can be addressed by government and employers.

The aim of this blog post is to summarise critical points for Senior Leaders in any size of organisation.

What Is This Report About?

In 2016 several reports were published that highlighted the cost of mental health issues in the workplace. Following on from this in January 2017 the Prime Minister of the UK Theresa May commissioned an independent review into:

‘How employers can better support the mental health of all people currently in employment including those with mental health problems or poor well-being to remain in and thrive through work.

The Stevenson Farmer Review is the final report that was submitted to the Prime Minister in October 2017 and has received extensive publicity.

What Are Some of The Key Findings?


Only 11% of employees discussed a recent mental health problem with their line manager.

Half of the employees said they would not discuss this kind of issue with their line manager.

More than 300,000 people suffering from long-term mental health problems lose their jobs each year.

Around 15% of people at work have symptoms of an existing mental health condition.


Only 24% of managers report that they have received training related to how to have conversations with team members around mental health issues.

Only 11% of the top 100 companies in Great Britain have disclosed information about their initiatives to support their employees’ mental health in their annual reports.

Overall, 39% have policies or systems in place to support employees with everyday mental health challenges.

8 in 10 employers report no cases of employees disclosing a mental health condition.

The estimated total cost to employers is between £33bn and £42bn when you add absenteeism, presenteeism and staff turnover together.

The overall cost to the UK economy is estimated at between £74bn and £99bn.

What Are the Recommendations Employers Need to Be Aware Of?

Stevenson Farmer has recommended the introduction of the following mental health care standards. The report authors believe that all employers can and should:

Promote Good Mental Health:

“Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan that promotes the good mental health of all employees and outlines the support available for those who may need it.”

Mental Health Awareness:

“Develop mental health awareness among employees by making information, tools, and support accessible.”

Encourage Conversations:

“Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling, during the recruitment process and at regular intervals throughout employment, offer appropriate workplace adjustments to employees who require them.”

Work, Life Balance:

“Provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work-life balance and opportunities for development.”

People Management:

“Promote effective people management to ensure all employees have a regular conversation about their health and well-being with their line manager, supervisor or organisational leader and train and support line managers and supervisors in effective management practices.

Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing by understanding available data, talking to employees, and understanding risk factors.”

I have no doubt that we will hear more on this important subject and it does pose more questions:

What are we doing that is already in line with the above standards?

What more could we be doing as employers and managers?

The report does highlight examples of good practice and you may discover that your organisation could already be leading the way.

I would love to hear your thoughts and examples of how your company is supporting employees overall mental health and wellbeing.
Until next time,

Rachel Hewitt-Hall

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