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article imageWorkplace stress costs UK businesses £26 billion a year Special

By Andrew John     May 21, 2010 in Health
Britain’s leading mental-health charity, Mind, has launched a “Mental Health at Work” awareness campaign, after news that workplace stress is costing UK businesses £26 billion and 70 million working days every year.
As well as launching its mental-health-in-employment website pages, Mind has also launched a new workplace video.
As Digital Journal’s Jane Fazackarley reported earlier this week, the ongoing recession is taking its toll on employees’ health.
“Work always puts people under pressure, which can become unbearable if you have mental-health problems to deal with, too,” said Dean Braithwaite, a Wales-based Mind volunteer.
“That’s why it’s so important that employers recognise and understand these problems, and also that a large number of people at one time or another will be suffering mental-health problems.”
So how could employers help?
“An open and compassionate employer helps enormously in relieving stress for all of their employees,” he said, “but especially for those having to deal with mental-health problems.
“This makes for a happier, more productive workforce, so that’s good business sense, too.”
Braithwaite himself suffered a work-stress-related breakdown some years ago, he said, and has continuing problems, but is now involved in voluntary work, which he’s passionate about.
Taboo subject
Mental health is still taboo in the workplace, with millions of people feeling that they need to put on a “brave face” and hide their workplace stress. However, the workers at Happy HQ always seem to have a smile on their face. Watch the video above to discover their secret!
The short film features Duncan Bannatyne, the entrepreneur and “business angel” in the UK TV reality programme Dragons’ Den. Bannatyne has given the campaign his wholehearted backing, as an important investment that employers can make to help ensure that their businesses thrive during the current economic climate.
Bannatyne said: “The recession will really have an impact on many employees who are a bit insecure in their jobs, who maybe aren’t sure that the company is doing well and are scared in case the company goes into administration, or redundancies are made.
“It’s a very anxious time. However, the recession is also a good time for businesses to be working on promoting good staff wellbeing. You’ve got to look after your staff. If you haven’t got staff, you haven’t got a business. It’s as simple as that.”
You can hear Bannatyne being interviewed about mental health at work in the Mind audio clip embedded above.
Background
Mind is the UK’s leading mental-health charity. It was founded in 1946 as the National Association for Mental Health (NAMH) and celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2006. In 2008, it merged with Mental Health Media.
Duncan Bannatyne is a Scottish entrepreneur, philanthropist and bestselling author. He set up and owns the Bannatyne Group. His business interests include health clubs, hotels, media, TV, stage schools, property and transport. He is most famous
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for his appearances on the BBC programme Dragons’ Den.
He has written three books: Anyone Can Do It, Wake Up and Change Your Life and How to be Smart With Your Money. He was appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his contribution to charity.
His charitable work includes having set up Bannatyre’s Charitable Trust (UK-registered charity number 268 36) “to help make a difference to the lives of children and adults in the UK and around the world”.
Dragons’ Den is a British television series, hosted by the economics journalist Evan Davis and produced by the BBC. It began in 2005. The format of the show is actually owned by Sony and is based on the original Japanese series, which has since been sold around the world.
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