Management and leadership

Counting the cost of mental health

Carl Williams | 18 Dec 2019

Counting the cost of mental health

Carl Williams | 18 Dec 2019

In this article:

Williams Talent Management’s Carl Williams explains how newly approved IMI courses can help in the battle against mental health issues


There is without doubt an increase in the identification and impacts of mental health in the workplace. Depression and anxiety disorders take a terrible human toll, and cost the global economy $1 trillion every year in lost productivity alone.

Looking at the UK through the analytical eyes of Deloitte, the estimated costs of mental health related absence in the UK workplace is £7.9bn. Deloitte also estimates that poor mental health costs UK employers between £33bn and £42bn every year. The cost to the country – including lost output and NHS bills – is somewhere between £74bn and £99bn.

But the more aware of the problems we become the more we can do to counter them and reduce the impact on businesses, and more importantly, those suffering.

The IMI is working to help people understand mental health and recently approved an industry certificated Quality Assured Program (QAP) to help improve mental toughness in the workplace. Aimed at people suffering from stress related issues, those who want to better equip themselves to handle certain situations, or people who would like to offer support and advice to colleagues, the foundation course in Mental Toughness, Resilience and Mental Wellbeing is a collaborative creation between Positive Action UK and Williams Talent Management. But what is mental toughness?

Put simply, it’s the ability to cope with the challenges, problems and set-backs you face in life, and learn strategies to overcome. It relies on different skills and draws on various sources of help, including engagement, positive emotions, rational thinking skills, meaning and purpose, physical and emotional health.

The science of resilience

One way to understand the development of resilience is to visualize a balance scale.  Protective experiences and adaptive skills on one side counterbalance significant adversity on the other. Resilience is evident when a person’s health and development are tipped in the positive direction, even when a heavy load of factors is stacked on the negative side. Understanding all of the influences that might tip the scale in the positive direction is critical to devising more effective strategies for promoting healthy development in the face of significant disadvantage.

While stress will always be part of an individual’s working life, high levels of sustained stress can be harmful to their mental and physical health, which will eventually impact their capacity to be the best version of themselves. Any professionals with high levels of emotional intelligence, mental toughness and resilience, manage stress well through competencies like self-control.

The QAP programme will aid the industry in becoming more technologically confident. Helping leaders from the supervisory level onwards, be more operationally courageous and confident in: sustainably managing, human productivity and quality output. Doing so by using scientifically and strategically mindful tools daily, that are adaptive and encouraging, when applied with intention to their teams and business partnerships.

The Mental Toughness, Resilience and Emotional Wellbeing QAP course completion and evaluation process, as well as the associated training, helps people to develop specific competencies that are powerfully protective of mental health. In particular, the insights and strategies provided equip people with the skills to effectively manage stress, which in turn, positively impacts their performance.

For more information on the Mental Toughness, Resilience and Mental Wellbeing course contact Positive Action or Carl Williams

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