On average one in six people (16.7%) will experience mental health problems at any one time in the UK (Office of National Statistics, 2001). Of these the vast majority will suffer from depression and/or an anxiety disorder (Layard, 2004). In essence mental illness has been identified as one of the biggest causes of misery in our society costing the UK on average £25 billion per annum. For business this has huge implications and current figures indicate that 33% of all days missed from work are due to problems with anxiety and depression (Layard, 2006).

So if the above information has both struck a chord and given you cause for concern then it is important to know that there is something you can do to help this situation within your business.

Whilst stress is not a mental illness per se it is one of the biggest contributors towards the development of anxiety and depression. In particular work-based stress has been shown to play a huge role in this. Stress can be exacerbated by some of the following:

• Bullying (including sexual harassment) – bullying is rife and you as an employer are liable in law for taking action to prevent it in the workplace. In terms of an employment tribunal the employer is responsible for showing that they did everything they could to prevent it from happening in the workplace.
• Long hours – research has shown that long hours do not make people more productive they just burn people out.
• Lack of consultation and employee participation – it is often not workaholic managers who are stressed but their employees who feel powerless and out of control.

What I can offer

As both a clinical psychologist and – in my past career – a qualified human resource professional, I have a deep insight into how business can support staff with difficulties – and stop those problems developing in the first place.

I offer two main services

• Education and training – to both management and staff on how to care for themselves and their team and manage difficulties.
• Consultancy on mental health problems – this more strategic service looks at how to set up and put in place relevant policies.

If you are interested in finding out more please contact me to discuss your needs further. Fees are negotiable depending on resources available.

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