Why Your Business Should Be Mental Health Aware

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK. We’re exploring the subject in this journal series from the IW team.

Did you know that that mental illnesses are the most common reason for people being unfit to work?

In the UK alone approximately 2.1 million people are suffering from illnesses caused or made worse by their work. In a way, it’s odd that we need a week specifically dedicated to making everyone aware of the most common problem our workforce faces. Millions of people are already well aware.

We have arrived in an age where we are more willing than ever to accept differences and open up about the taboo topic of mental health. Yet more than 1/3 of employees (37%) prematurely leave their job because they suffer from burnout, depression and anxiety. If we compare this figure to 2009, we see that only 26.6% suffered from mental health issues. According to Amar Banejere (2019) increasing stress levels, pressure to perform as well as a lacking work-life balance are to blame.

“The success of a company does not only depend on profit or revenue but also the well-being of its individuals.”


Nowadays, the success of a company does not only depend on profit or revenue but also their ability to retain and motivate talent. And this in turn, largely depends on the well-being of individuals at the work place.

Research has shown that there are three levels of well-being, the physical, the social and the mental. A study from the O.C Tanner institute (2018) identified the mental level as the most important level of well-being. It relates to the feeling that you have your life under control, as well as a sense of belonging.

So why not implement measures to prevent mental health issues before they occur? Here are a few tips for making a happier, healthier working environment:

  1. Make work play

    Have you noticed how creative and playful children meet and master challenges? The main reason is that they don’t think in typical patterns that we’ve been trained to follow. Incorporate a more creative and fun work atmosphere.

  2. Take breaks

    Missing or not taking breaks is felt as stressful. So, clearly differentiate break and work time.

  3. Self-management

    Allow for individuality and different working styles. Due to increased autonomy and responsibility your team could prove to be more committed and more effective.

A culture that allows this kind of work helps alleviate the biggest blocker to our workforce being fit to work. Now that’s well worth being aware of.