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Health

Mental ill-health costs Britain £99 billion a year

Prime Minister Theresa May promises action after government report finds 300,000 people quit work because of mental health problems

Many people are becoming more comfortable talking about the personal toll mental health problems can take.

But a new government report estimates the mounting financial cost to the nation.

Poor mental health drains up to £99 billion from the British economy every year, the study has found.

Around 300,000 people have to leave their jobs every year because of mental health struggles, according to the Thriving at Work report for the Department of Work and Pensions and the Department of Health.

Employers simply don’t understand the crucial role they can play

Paul Farmer, one of the review’s authors and the chief executive of the charity Mind, said employers must do more to provide support.

“In many instances employers simply don’t understand the crucial role they can play, or know where to go for advice and support,” Farmer said.

“Opportunities are missed to prevent poor mental health and ensure that employees who may be struggling get the support they need.”

Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to follow up on the report’s recommendations.

Farmer and the other authors have proposed an online portal on mental health, and suggested every employers is made to come up with a “mental health at work” plan.

The prime minister said: “It is only by making this an everyday concern for everyone that we change the way we see mental illness, so that striving to improve your mental health – whether at work or at home – is seen as just as positive as improving our physical well-being.”

May previously told The Big Issue she wanted to “tackle the burning injustice that people with mental health issues experience when they find there is not enough help at hand.”

She pledged to “improve prevention in the workplace” and “invest in training in every school, so that teachers and staff are better able to identify and respond to mental illness early.”

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