Half of employers lack 'formalized policies' on mental health

New data shows disconnect around mental wellbeing recognition and employer actions

Half of employers lack 'formalized policies' on mental health

Only 49% of employers have formalised policies when it comes to mental health, the CCLA has found, despite nine in 10 companies saying they recognise mental health as an important business issue. These were the initial findings of a mental health benchmark report from the Churches, Charities and Local Authorities (CCLA), which aims to assess how 100 of the world's largest companies are approaching and managing workplace mental health.

Initial findings from the report also revealed that only 19% of organizations have assigned day-to-day operational responsibility for implementing mental health policies, and only 15% have published objectives or targets for mental health.

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Amy Browne, stewardship lead at CCLA, said these findings show employers have much more work to do in implementing mental health care plans.

"There may be no shortage of mental health initiatives in the international workplace, but when it comes to integrating mental health into formal management systems and processes, most global companies have much further to go," said Browne.

The findings revealed that only 28% of employers have a formal policy that recognizes the link between mental health and financial wellbeing, despite 82% of employers saying they acknowledge the connection. Furthermore, only 19% of CEOs have declared their commitment to promoting a culture of openness around mental health.

"Our message to global companies is this: promoting and investing in the mental health of your workers is both a moral and an economic imperative. By directing resources thoughtfully, not only will you improve the quality of your people's lives, but you will also build a workforce that is more productive, more resilient, and more profitable," said Browne.

Read more: Mental health group offers up extra resources

These initial findings were sourced from the CCLA Corporate Mental Health Benchmark Global 100, which aims to serve as a new accountability mechanism to help employers create conditions where their workers can "thrive."

David Atkin, CEO of Principles for Responsible Investment, said the benchmark is a "vital tool for investors to engage with companies on a critical aspect of protecting workers."

"I look forward to seeing how companies respond to increased scrutiny of workplace mental health by institutional investors and, over time, I hope that more companies will be able to realise the business and wider societal benefits from creating the conditions in which all their workers can thrive," said Atkin in a statement.

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Shekhar Saxena, member of the CCLA Expert Advisory Panel on mental health, also said that this benchmark will be a "catalyst" for investor and company action on mental health.

"Mental health is a universally relevant topic which is deeply interconnected with all aspects of our daily life including at work. Global organisations have the responsibility to promote mental health by fostering a workplace community in which every individual can thrive," said the professor. "This benchmark is a catalyst for investor and company action and an exciting and necessary step in motivating companies to improve their practices on mental health for the benefit of all."

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