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FSB Wales calls on SMEs to put mental health first

FSB Wales is calling on small businesses to make mental health and wellbeing a priority during Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from Monday, May 13 to Sunday, May 19, 2019.

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One in four people in the UK are affected by mental health issues in any one year, and the impact of poor mental wellbeing on businesses and their staff can be significant. It’s estimated that work-related mental health issues cost businesses up to £26 billion each year in the UK.



Staff turnover as a consequence of mental ill-health costs businesses £2.4 billion, while £15.1 billion is lost as a result of unproductive staff being unable to cope at work because of poor mental wellbeing. Seventy million working days are lost every year due to mental health problems.

The FSB is urging SMEs to do more to ensure the mental wellbeing of their staff is properly looked after and has produced a guide for its members and for anyone, to download, to help people address issues of mental ill-health in their workplaces. It provides useful tips and guidance for both business owners and the self-employed.

The FSB also wants small business owners to think about their own mental health which all too often gets overlooked. The self-employed are particularly vulnerable because they are isolated from the peer support and networks that people in employment often have.

Mental Health Awareness Week provides an opportunity for employers and staff to think about and discuss issues around mental wellbeing, but it’s most effective if the week is used as a catalyst for provoking conversations around mental health that become a regular feature of workplace life throughout the year.

Ben Francis, Chair, FSB Wales Policy Unit said: “Employees should be encouraged to talk about mental health, especially workplace related concerns. Managers should make it clear that such conversations will not impact on employees’ careers or position in the workplace and could be a regular addition to discussions about personal development or workplace appraisals.

Business owners and the self-employed should not neglect their own mental wellbeing either. Having regular and candid conversations with friends, family members and business mentors can help identify sources of stress and allow timely steps to be taken to address them.

Conversations around mental health and wellbeing should become normalised in business networks, to support employers and employees alike. Problems with mental health can have a serious impact on both individuals’ and business’ productivity, and FSB Wales believes encouraging mental wellbeing could make an important contribution to improving Wales’ productivity overall.”

The FSB guide to mental well-being in the workplace can be download here.