Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow, have called upon employers to take three simple steps to improve the mental health of their staff, and address the 70 million working days lost as a result of mental health issues every year.

The call to action comes as the Deputy Prime Minister and Care Services Minister set out plans for improving mental health and stigma aimed at employers, schools, local councils, housing organisations and voluntary groups.

Five of the UK’s five leading mental health organisations – Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, Turning Point, Centre for Mental Health and the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network – have worked in partnership with the Government to draw up the plans.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said:

“70 million working days are lost as a result of mental health issues every year, costing business £1,000 every year for each employee. Managing mental health at work well can save around 30% of these costs – businesses cannot afford not to take mental health seriously.

“Companies such as BT, E.On, Deloitte and EDF Energy are already doing fantastic work to support their teams.

“These three simple steps give all employers the support to look after their staff’s mental health and keep Britain working.“

They are:

1. Make this year the Time to Change: By signing your company up to the Time to Change campaign to end mental health discrimination, it shows a public commitment from the top of the organisation to the bottom and sends a strong message to employees.
2. Get some ‘First Aid’ training in mental health: Most companies have an employee trained in first aid. But mental ill health is the most prevalent cause of illness among people of working age. Appointing someone as a mental health expert or training a number of people in awareness would make a huge difference. Training is available from a variety of organisations.
3. Call for help: the Health for Work Adviceline in England can be accessed on 0800 0 77 88 44 and is designed to support employers and employees in small and medium sized businesses, by providing free-to-use early and easy access to professional occupational health and wellbeing advice to help employees remain in or return to work after a period of ill health.

A 2010 survey found that 72% of workplaces still had no formal mental health policy, and 23% of managers were unable to name a single mental health condition. By following these simple tips, and making information available to employees, managers can take steps to support their team.