Budget 2018: Businesses must address the link between mental health, financial insecurity and productivity

In response to the Chancellor announcing an increase in mental health spending in today’s Budget, Louise Aston, wellbeing director at Business in the Community comments on the need for businesses to focus on preventative measures and acknowledge the link between financial stress and poor mental health.
Louise Aston, wellbeing director at Business in the Community, said: “While increased funding for mental health support is always welcome, there must be more focus on preventative measures rather than solely focusing on measures which help people when they are already at crisis point. Employers must lead the way in addressing the inextricable link between mental and financial health. Our Mental Health at Work 2018 research, in conjunction with Mercer, revealed for the first time that financial insecurity is contributing to the national burden of poor mental health. Our research also showed that senior business leaders think they are doing better than they are when it comes to supporting employee mental health and line managers are willing to support their teams, but often do not have the necessary training.
“There is a two-way relationship between financial wellbeing and mental health, but very few employers support employees experiencing financial difficulties. There is huge financial pressure on employees, with stagnant wages and living costs which continue to rise, so employers have an important role in educating employees in financial literacy and signposting them to appropriate sources of professional support.
“Although there has been slow incremental improvement of overall mental health at work over the past three years, collective and urgent action by employers is needed to build momentum quickly, taking a ‘whole person’ approach to physical, mental, financial and social health and wellbeing.  If progress on this is not made at scale and fast, UK productivity as a whole will continue to suffer." 
Notes to editor
  • For interviews with Louise Aston or to receive a copy of Business in the Community’s Mental Health at Work 2018 report, please contact Katherine Howbrook on 07515 119 096 or at Katherine.howbrook@bitc.org.uk
About Business in the Community
Business in the Community, part of the Prince’s Responsible Business Network, is a business-led membership organisation made up of progressive businesses of all sizes who understand that the prosperity of business and society are mutually dependent. We exist to build healthy communities with successful businesses at their heart.