Recently participating in an event supporting a pioneering mental health campaign, Audeliss were impressed with the Lord Mayor’s 2016 Power of Diversity programme and in particular, the openness and inclusivity with which leading senior professionals were willing to discuss the topic of mental health.
Whilst awareness and acceptance surrounding mental health have increased rapidly over the past few years, businesses are often reluctant to engage their employees in related discussions, further contributing to the existing social stigma and devastating effects of mental illness. The Power of Diversity programme reveals the shocking and saddening results of its recent survey on the business and personal impact of mental illness:
- 50% of those surveyed described depression as ‘a sign of weakness’
- 1/3 surveyed would not employ someone with depression
- 25% of people in the UK experience a mental health problem in any given year
- Half of absences in non-manual work are related to stress
- The economy loses £26billion a year to mental illness
When it comes to this often-overlooked diversity strand, London and the South East of the UK are amongst the most progressive British regions, but mental health remains a taboo topic across many industries, regions and countries.
There is a wealth of information evidencing the damage done to diverse employees who are uncomfortable being themselves at work – LGBT+ employees who can be out at work are 32% more productive than employees who hide their sexuality – allowing us to only imagine the benefits to be gained by supporting employees who suffer with mental health problems.
With increased awareness of the importance of mental health support, how can businesses become more accepting and inclusive of their diverse employees?
Suki Sandhu is the Founder and CEO of Audeliss.