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Businesses must do more to support their employees’ mental health

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As they begin to recognize the implications of not taking action, businesses and governments have pushed the issue of Mental health up their agendas. But are they doing enough?

The world is no longer ignoring mental health. It can’t. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 450 million people are currently living with some form of mental health condition, and 25 percent of people will experience a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lifetime. This makes it one of the leading causes of ill health across the globe.

Alongside the personal, unquantifiable impact of this mental health crisis, the economic costs are stark: the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development estimates that mental disorders will cost the global economy $16trn by 2030. That’s before taking into account lost tax revenues, benefits payouts and increased pressure on public health services. It’s before even considering the impact of COVID-19, which the WHO predicts will see mental health issues across the globe soar in the coming months and years.

It’s not just governments feeling the impact of the global mental health crisis. Businesses – and their bottom lines – are bearing the brunt too. In January, Deloitte published a study titled Mental Health and Employers: Refreshing the Case for Investment, which found that mental-health-related issues cost UK firms as much as £45bn ($56.72bn) a year, up 16 percent from 2017. In the US, the figure sits closer to $100bn, Forbes reports.