Mental Health Issues in the Workplace in the UK – The Shocking Statistics

Did you know, people are more comfortable discussing sex with a colleague, than their mental health?

With 1 in 6 people experiencing mental health problems in the workplace, these are just part of the statistics

Let’s explore some of the facts.

Only 13% of people are comfortable in discussing mental health in the workplace

A survey of 2000 British workers reveals only 13% of employees would be comfortable discussing mental health in the workplace.  Also, 30% felt comfortable discussing the breakup of a relationship, more than double the number who would discuss their mental health needs. A further survey found that  64% of employees feared they may be judged by their direct managers if discussing their mental health.

Mental health issues cost employers up to £42 billion. Every. Single. Year.

A survey was completed on behalf of the UK government in 2017 by Stevenson and Farmer. It found cost losses of between £33-42 billion per year by UK businesses as a result of mental health issues.

In the report, they attribute up to 50% of this huge loss to what they dub ‘presenteeism’. Instead of being absent, employees who are physically in the workplace but whose mental health issues mean they are significantly less productive.

89% of workers with mental health issues report it impacting upon their working lives

In another survey by CV Library, it was found 89% of respondents reported their mental health issues affected them in the workplace. Ranging from pre-existing issues directly impacting upon their working life or even their workplace affecting their mental health.

Mental Health Issues are the number 1 cause of sickness absences in the UK

Nearly half of all long-term absence in the UK is attributed to mental health issues. Additionally, those suffering with mental health issues in the workplace are statistically more likely to hide the real reason they require sick leave.

Programmes addressing Mental Health Issues in the workplace can present a return of interest of up to 800%

The findings of the Stevenson/Farmer report concluded considerable work needs to be undertaken in order to address mental health issues in the workplace. One of their major findings was that a manager mental health training programme could lead to a significant reduction in work-related sickness absence, with an associated return on investment of £9.98 for each pound invested in this training.

The better equipped the leadership and management of a business to identify, discuss and support mental health issues in the workplace, the greater the potential financial return on the investment in equipping those team members.

Cultural change in the workplace

Businesses can create successful and thriving communities, no matter the mental health issues in the workplace, b. Yes, there is a need to address pre-existing issues for staff. To be able to offer the right support. However, the matter runs considerably deeper.

Addressing mental health in the workplace incorporates creating a safe place within which to discuss mental health, providing proactive relief to employees in order to support their mental health needs, being able to spot the tell-tale signs of a colleague who is struggling and the best ways to support them. This is more than simply being kind to peers and employees.

There is a genuine financial benefit to addressing mental health issues in the workplace. Toxic environments breed problems, but a supportive workplace is one which equips and emboldens staff members to go ahead and achieve. In doing so, mental health-conscious workplaces will run at higher efficiency with greater production – the outcome, greater potential profits. It is statistically proven that investment in addressing mental health issues in the workplace will have an extremely significant return on investment.

We can help

Here at Change For Success UK we are all about supporting cultural change, from the top down.

The benefits are endless. Mental health should NO longer be a taboo.

We all have mental health like we have physical health.
We are a first class wellness training and coaching provider. We help businesses break the stigma of mental health in the workplace and help create organisations where your biggest asset thrive.


Stevenson, D and Farmer, P (2017) Thriving at work. The Stevenson/ Farmer Review of mental health and employees (completed on behalf of the UK government)