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March 22, 2011 - Anonymous

Free guide helps employers manage workplace mental health

Taking steps to support staff suffering from mental health issues can save small firms money – that’s the message from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), following the publication of a free guide to managing mental health problems in the workplace.

The Taking Care of Business guide, produced by the FSB and mental health charity Mind, offers tips on how employers can spot the signs of mental ill health, how to support staff, and how to reduce the chance of problems occurring in the first place.

Research from the FSB highlighted that conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress affect one in six employees – costing UK businesses, up to £26 billion a year.

However, the business group said taking steps to manage mental health issues in the workplace could cut these costs by up to a third.

“This guide suggests ways to help increase the productivity and performance of employees while saving the business money,” said an FSB spokesman.

Mind director of external relations, Sophie Corlett, added: “Employees will experience work-related stress and mental health problems in any business, but some small employers may have concerns about how they can support staff experiencing mental health issues.

“Employers [need to] acknowledge mental health issues, create an open culture where employees can raise problems, and extend existing practices to help staff stay mentally healthy,” she said.