Acas Urges UK Businesses To Tackle Mental Health In The Downturn
on: October 9, 2009, 4:17 am
the employment relations service, is encouraging UK businesses
and managers to prepare for the longer term effects of the recession
and implement policies and procedures to help cope with mental
health issues in the workplace.
a recently published policy discussion paper, Acas looks at some
of the lessons that can be learnt from tackling workplace stress.
It advises business and managers to look at how they can anticipate
and identify mental health problems in the workplace and what
steps should be taken to respond to them.
show that mental health problems cost UK organisations around
£26 billion each year*. The latest figures also reveal that
the total number of unemployed has now reached 2.47 million**,
which could have a further adverse impact on employees' wellbeing.
Sweeney, Acas Chairman, said: "The economy may hopefully
have seen the worst of the recession but the impact on workplaces
will be felt far into the future.
procedures to effectively deal with mental health issues in the
workplace has strong benefits for individuals and organisations.
Early intervention can play a critical part in reducing the problem
of ill health at work and this 'prevention over cure' approach
will ultimately help businesses and employees save time, stress
the impact of the recession on employees' mental wellbeing can
be difficult as the stigma associated with mental health creates
barriers to measuring the true extent of the problem.
is urging organisations and managers to implement effective policies
and procedures to help managers deal with the long term impacts
of the downturn and safeguard the health and wellbeing of employees.
This might include:
workplace training - to
raise awareness of stress and
mental health so that line managers, in particular, can tell if
an employee is
suffering from additional or excessive pressures
- Good interpersonal skills -
to help nurture trusting relationships with staff who
may be anxious about disclosing their mental health problems
- A supportive organisational
structure - that guides managers by providing clear
policies and procedures for managing mental health
Note to editors:
* The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health: Policy Paper 8 , December
** Office for National Statistics, September 2009
Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through
better employment relations.
It provides information, advice, training and
a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent
problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory
body governed by a
Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union
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