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Poor mental health 'is hitting' employers' bottom lines, charity warns

PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:11 11 February 2020

The Proactive Workplace Mental Health Summit is being organised by Suffolk Libraries new HIVE network, in partnership with Suffolk Mind. Picture: TIME TO CHANGE

The Proactive Workplace Mental Health Summit is being organised by Suffolk Libraries new HIVE network, in partnership with Suffolk Mind. Picture: TIME TO CHANGE

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Ipswich business leaders counting the cost of poor mental health in the workplace will be tackling the root causes at all-day conference in March.

The work mental health conference will be held at the University of Suffolk. Picture: JAMES FLETCHERThe work mental health conference will be held at the University of Suffolk. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER

The Proactive Workplace Mental Health Summit on March 30 - organised by Suffolk Libraries' new HIVE network in partnership with Suffolk Mind - will be held at the University of Suffolk's Waterfront Building.

The conference aims to help companies understand the costs of poor mental health and stress in the workplace.

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It will also showing positive action they can take to address the issue to benefit their employees and their bottom line.

A 2017 government-commissioned report by Deloitte estimated that poor mental health in the workplace costs employers between £33bn and £42bn every year. Although workplace absence has fallen in recent years, the proportion of days lost due to mental health issues has risen.

But research has also found that the return on investment of workplace mental health interventions can make a big difference when it comes to tackling the issue.

Advisers to the programme include former Ipswich Football Club chairman David Sheepshanks, who is business and life coach for Vistage Group, Doug Field, chief executive of East of England Co-op and chair of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and Jon Neal, chief executive of Suffolk Mind.

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Mr Neal said wellbeing and health in the workplace had never been so important, or had such a high profile as it does right now.

"It's not just about social responsibility and being a considerate employer because it's nice to be one - there is more and more evidence of its impact on the bottom line as well," he said.

"Mental wellbeing in the workplace makes a big difference, not just to sickness and absence rates, but also to motivation and performance. The most successful employers are those that create environments in which their teams can meet their physical and emotional needs in healthy ways."

The conference will feature speakers and discussions exploring the legal framework around the Equality Act, Disability Discrimination Act and Mental Health Act review, and show delegates how to put a mental health and wellbeing framework in place.

Speakers will represent the experiences of top companies including UBS, Direct Line Group, Astra Zeneca, ACAS, Adnams, C&I Wellbeing, RWE, Aon, Havas Creative Group and City of London Corporation.

To book a place, visit hivesuffolk.co.uk

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