Businesses in Leeds encouraged to do more to aid those with mental health issues in the workplace.
By Brad Patefield
According to stats from healthassured.org, up to 15% of workplace employees currently suffer from a form of Mental Health problem, with sick absence and staff turnover costing employers between almost £37 and £42 billion annually.
2017 Deloitte Research provided the staggering figure that up to 300,000 workers with long term mental health problems become unemployed each year, also stating that the Government loses out on between £24 and £238 billion through lost tax revenue and NHS costs as a result of mental health.
In a bid to bring about much-needed change, the annual Leeds Business Week event within the city will include a special ‘Thriving Minds’ conference to develop the way in which local businesses can aid the wellbeing of employees.
The conference will take place on Wednesday 10th October at The Mansion, Roundhay, organised by local firm ‘Thrive Law’, to coincide with World Mental Health Day highlighting the work ‘Leeds Mind and Mindful Employer’ undertake to ensure the necessary issues are tackled.
‘The statistics can’t continue’
Jodie Hill, founder of organisers Thrive Law, said:
“The ˜Thriving Minds’ conference was created to raise recognition of the importance of enabling both employers and employees to thrive in workplace.
“The statistics that we have seen from the report can’t continue, and we need to fundamentally change the way we support our workforce and start to implement the recommended core standards which will enable both our team and business to Thrive.
“Mental Health can have a huge impact on people’s lives if the correct help isn’t provided. In addition to the conference we are also campaigning for there to be a nominated mental health first aider in every business, so that they respond to mental ill health with the same seriousness as physical health issues.”
Wednesday’s meeting will include a number of guest speakers and experts. Yorkshire Post deputy business editor Greg Wright, Leeds Mind founder Fiona Devenney and former England Rugby Union sevens captain Rob Vickerman- now a wellbeing advocate – will be on hand to provide in-depth knowledge for attendees.
Past sufferers will be in attendance to share experiences first-hand and how the raised awareness has positively affected recovery.
‘Opening doors for conversations’
Lewis Moore, a quantity surveyor in Leeds, says attending a similar event helped his colleagues open up about their mental health.
“There have been a few people who eventually came to me after a briefing on mental health, it was like they felt at ease when the management hierarchy talks about the specific issues and it seemed to open doors for the relevant conversations to take place.
“Before the conference I had no idea that I’d be able to manage an issue of this sort in the manner that we do now.
“It is relieving to see just how much of an impact these methods have whilst tackling a person’s mental health condition through the necessary advice and guidance, or simply just being there to listen to what they have to say.”
Mr Moore says he would recommend the conference to others: “The conference provides excellent insights and I urge companies who haven’t attended before to pop down and hear what the experts have to say.”
Leeds Business Week, a popular yearly event, will take place between 8-12th October, and will hold a multiple week-long workshops to support the enhancement of strategic business methods, alongside the ‘Thriving Minds’ conference.