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We Need To Talk About Mental Health

07 December 2018

by Megan Walsh

Did you know that poor mental health constitues to 30% of absences in the workplace?

It’s shocking, but it probably comes as no surprise. Excessive workloads, unrealistic deadlines and the blurring of boundaries between home and the workplace has resulted in a rise of stress and anxiety in employees who are struggling to meet demands in pressure-driven environments.

And while stress is a major factor in all our working lives, individuals employed within the finance sector are 44% more likely to develop a stress-related illness than in any other professional environment.

One in five brokers have contemplated leaving their industry due to stress and a 2017 study by YouGov found that 70% of finance employees said they would not notify their boss if they had a problem in the belief that anxiety and mental health issues could damage their career.

But despite common belief, attitudes towards mental health have changed. Business owners have begun to realise the importance of employee well-being and the stigma that was once attached to mental health is finally being dismantled.

Well-being in the workplace has become a key driver for business success in 2018. As sponsors of this year’s Dive In Festival, a yearly event promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Oliver James hosted some fantastic sessions on well-being and how to handle stress, with Jon Manning’s seminar on practical actions to manage stress and anxiety in the workplace being the most attended event – a clear indication that mental health sits high on the agendas of our clients.

In addition to this, to meet client demand, Oliver James collaborated with the Business Disability Forum to conduct the Disability Smart Recruitment seminar. The talk focussed on what hiring managers can do to improve each candidate’s journey and access to opportunities.

Events such as these are crucial in raising awareness of mental health in the workplace. By educating employers and encouraging them to provide an inclusive environment in which employees feel comfortable enough to talk about their situation at any stage, stress-related absences will be significantly reduced, and overall business performance will reap the benefits.

Ultimately, it is up to employers to equip themselves with the knowledge on how best to handle sensitive conversations with employees should they arise.

As a trusted recruitment partner to the financial services, in 2019 Oliver James will offer workshops to our clients, providing them with the knowledge to recognise stress in the workplace and the necessary tools to develop best practices on how to deal with employees who may be suffering from poor mental health.

Our dedicated D&I team would be happy to discuss any queries you might have about how you can diversify your workplace to better assist your employee's well-being. If you would like to find out more, email

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