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Are businesses serious enough about mental illness?

Businesses not taking mental illness seriously enough are being urged to reassess the value of their employees as part of this year’s World Mental Health Day. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has launched an advice pack for businesses looking to revise their policies on mental health, which can not only affect company health and wellbeing, but also encourage staff retention, growth and even boost company profits.

The pack covers conditions ranging from the more common such as depression, anxiety and insomnia alongside personality disorders, post-natal depression and eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

Hundreds of thousands of workers will experience mental health problems during the course of a year, and absences from work because of mental health have a massive impact on businesses. Bosses have developed much greater understanding in recent years, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists is hoping their advice can help educate management that want the best from their employees.

“It makes sense for businesses to look after the mental health of their employees,” said Professor Wendy Burn, the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. “It can make a real difference if they have the right information to hand, if they can say to an employee who is experiencing a mental health issue, ‘we understand.’”

An understanding and sensitive voice could make all the difference when helping people who need mental support, as many of our own readers still aren’t comfortable discussing their mental health with friends and colleagues.

“It can make a difference if they are able to support, and are able to direct that person to the right place, where they can get the best advice and help,” continued Professor Burn. “As well as helping organisations with the duty of care they have to their own staff, we believe the packs will help businesses arm their frontline staff with the appropriate information to help them understand and support customers who may have mental health conditions.”

You can read the advice pack on the Royal College’s website. Do you think businesses need to do more to support workers with mental illness? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.