By Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Group Risk Development (GRiD)

While it may once have been overlooked, employers are now increasingly waking up to the fact that mental health is as important as physical health in maintaining staff morale, not least in terms of productivity and engagement.

Mental illness is the largest single cause of disability in the UK and costs the economy £70-£100 billion per year, according to Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer, while our latest research found that almost half (45%) of employers questions considered this to be a major cause of long-term absence. These figures prove just how big an impact stress and mental ill-health can have on employers.

There remains a growing need for intervention strategies to help support people in managing mental health conditions and keeping them productive in the workplace.

While it may not seem like something employers can deal with without large resources, many will already have a Group Income Protection (GIP) scheme in place as part of their overall absence management strategy, offering early intervention and rehabilitation support as well financial support for employees if they are unable to work for any length of time.

Support offered alongside a GIP policy (such as an Employee Assistance Programme, HR or legal advice, mental health first aid training, fast access to CBT, and counselling) can help employers with prevention, better access to help and effective rehabilitation. Taking steps now to introduce this will have significant returns for businesses.

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