Mental illness Costs Wales Millions

More than 3.3 million sick days in Wales are caused by mental health problems and £292m is being lost to the economy of the country every year, says employment charity the Shaw Trust.

The charity also claims that many employers donnot recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and it is urging companies to take greater care of the mental health of their staff.

Tim Cooper, Managing Director of the Shaw Trust, said, “Worryingly, because employers often don’t understand how to recognise mental health problems, the true figures often aren’t recorded.

“Businesses are putting their bottom line in danger, not only by losing valuable workers, but also by putting themselves at risk of costly lawsuits.”

This comes as the UK Government launches a three year initiative called Action on Stigma, which lays out voluntary standards encouraging employers to improve the way they deal with mental ill health in the workplace.

It is believed that up to 90% of people with a mental health problem actually want to work, compared with only 52% of disabled people generally.

But employers are less likely to employ people with a mental illness than those with physical ailments. Just 20% of people with a severe mental illness have jobs, compared with 65% of those with a physical ailment, and 75% for the whole adult population. Even amongst those with more common forms of mental illness like depression, only half are employed.

The Shaw Trust is a national charity which provides training and work opportunities for people who are disadvantaged in the labour market due to disability, ill health or other social circumstances. They are the largest UK provider of employment services for disabled people.