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Poll: How can the automotive sector improve workers' mental health?

14/10/2019
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According to a recently published whitepaper, poor mental health in workers costs the automotive sector £1.2 billion a year.

We want to know what engineering professionals with experience in the sector think needs to be done to improve mental health throughout the industry. Have your say in our poll:

The whitepaper was released to coincide with World Mental Health Day last week by independent charity Ben, which specialises in providing support for people working in the automotive industry. According to the charity, mental health is one of the biggest issues affecting the UK automotive industry’s workforce - in fact they claim that 91% of employees in the automotive sector have been affected by a health and wellbeing issue in the last year, with just 1 in 4 employees reporting that they received support to help understand or manage their mental health.

View Ben's whitepaper on mental health in the automotive sector, released on World Mental Health Day 2019
(Image via Ben)

The charity used analytics used by Deloitte to estimate the cost of mental health related absences, including basic absenteeism costs, staff turnover costs and even “presenteeism” costs - when people turn up for work despite feeling unwell. In their words:

“Costs do vary by sector but, for an estimate of the annual cost of poor mental health in your business, multiply the number of employees you have by £1,119 for a low estimate and by £1,481 for a high estimate.

“So, if you run a garage with 10 employees, poor mental health could be costing you around £10,000-£15,000 a year. And if you are a business with over 13,000 UK employees, the bill could be nearer £15m-£20m.

“The SMMT estimates that the UK automotive industry employs 823,000 individuals which means pool mental health costs our sector between £0.9bn and £1.2bn each year.”

This means that taking steps to improve mental health in the workplace is not only beneficial to workers, but to the financial future of the company. 

According to automotive mental health charity Ben, 91% of employees reported a health and wellbeing issue in the last year
(Image via Ben)

So what steps should be taken?

There are many different approaches that automotive firms can take to improve their approach to mental health, with companies such as Ben providing plenty of suggestions. Though of course the most beneficial thing would be for companies to implement a number of different approaches to suit everyone, it’s useful to understand what those who actually work within the sector would prioritise. 

So with this in mind we want the EngineeringPro community to have your say. What would you prioritise to improve the mental health of the automotive industry? Better promotion around the workplace of charities that can provide confidential support? More options for flexible working that might help reduce stress and improve mental health before it becomes a problem? Hiring in-house specialists who can provide support where needed both as a preventative and reactionary measure? Or better training for both employees and managers on how to spot signs of stress or anxiety, and where the duty of care lies?

Or do you have another suggestion that we haven’t covered here?

Have your say

Let us know in the poll above or in the comments below. The results and best comments will be published on Monday 21st October, and featured in next week’s EngineeringPro newsletter.

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Poll: How can the automotive sector improve workers' mental health? - Time to read 3 min
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