Excellence and 3x the Profit? How can #MentalHealth mean success for every business?

Just over two years ago I worked at the UK and Eire HQ for a large multi-national manufacturer. After five years with the company, I was forced to leave – after I tried to kill myself. So how can Mental Health save businesses £9b per year, deliver excellence in products and service and therefore up to 3x the profit?

Matt Streuli's TV Interview with Sky News - August 2017

The Heath and Safety Act treats mental and physical health equally, however, the real world has been slow to catch up. In my situation, I was taking on extra work and new roles to ‘help’ the company keep in profit. Yet new independent research by Soma shows that companies that record and track Mental Health make up to
3x the profit.[1]

I did everything my HR said, however, they didn’t do ¾ of the ‘reasonable adjustments’ suggested by their own Occupational Health Doctor. When I returned to the office with my final sick note from my GP, feeling duty bound to turn my out of office on and beg for my colleagues to cover my urgent duties, I was called in to see a senior manager. When I explained the situation and handed him my sick note he replied: “No one else had a problem”.
"In classrooms, in workplaces, around the dinner table, between friends even between strangers. People are now really talking about their own wellbeing and looking to help those around them. And while just talking doesn’t cure all ills, we are now shattering the silence that was a real barrier to progress. ”
– Prince Harry, Mind Media Awards 2017
The problem is that everyone does have this problem. The biggest killer of men and young men is not cancer, drugs or car crashes. The biggest killer of men in our country is suicide. In fact 75% of all suicides are male. Research released in August 2017 by Mind, the Mental Health Charity in England and Wales, show that men are twice as likely to suffer from mental health issues. Why does this matter to HR and CEOs? Research announced by one of Prince Charles’ charities in October 2017 showed that Work and the Workplace was the cause of 60% of mental health issues as surveyed by YouGov – regardless of gender.[2]

At a basic level, however, the solution is simple. Companies want to generate profit. This is done by creating a product or service and then nurturing its growth until it reaches the pinnacle of what it can achieve. We should be doing the same with our staff. As humans, we want what is best for ourselves, our families and each other. Big businesses are starting to realise that by nurturing and supporting their staff, they can mould their employees into what is best for the individual and the company; flexibility, compassion and ambition is a two-way avenue. 
"In the sphere of mental health alone I have found it to be quite extraordinarily supportive. What you do for yourselves and your friends and strangers can not be overstated."
@stephenfry , Mind Media Awards 2017
Stress and other mental health problems are the second biggest cause of sickness absence, accounting for 70 million lost working days every year.[3] This sick leave plus the staff turnover costs £26 billion every year[4]. It is cheaper to support and nurture your staff and in turn you will harvest up to 3x the profits. 

How can a driver get to the podium if the pit crew can’t face another day? 

Studies also show that simply spending 80p on health promotion and intervention saves £4 in costs due to absenteeism, temporary staff and presenteeism[5]. In my case, it would have also saved the cost of expensive Solicitors and a payout – let alone the Employer's embarrassment with Staff and Customers

The Centre for Mental Health has proven that simple steps to improve the prevention and early identification of issues should enable UK organisations to save 30% or more of current mental health and stress-related costs, a potential saving of £9 billion per year.[4] 
If you want to your products and service to bloom with excellence, that has to start with your foundations. That excellence can only be delivered by staff who are nurtured and flourishing themselves.

Search Matt Streuli on HuffPost to read my articles
 How can Customer Service deliver excellence when they live in a "toxic dump" or an "atmosphere of fear"?

Since leaving my ‘hurtful’ employer I have focused on my recovery and returning to work. Aside from my new career in Education and in the Voluntary Sector (for Mind, Time to Change and the Iver Heath Drama Club) I have been working as an advocate. This involves public speaking and representing the struggling, scared, silent workforce - including interviews with LBC, The Guardian, BBC Newsbeat, Paul Ross on TalkRadio and, most recently, Sky News. Compared to that ‘hurtful’ job, I am struggling to make ends meets but: I am healthy, happily engaged to a wonderful woman and I am Alive.

The reason I am writing to you is that YOU and the staff who directly report to you have the power to change your company and save lives. I would like to offer my services to you and your HR team. I would like to work WITH you in helping improve the mindset of your company and management structure to one that wants the best and what is best from and for everyone whether this is through public speaking at your meetings and conferences or on an individual basis. I would also like to support you in working toward an industry standard such as:
> The Mindful Accreditation (a NHS recognised Charter signed by over 1700 companies)
> Joining Mind’s Wellbeing Index (run by the charity Mind, signatures include PepsiCo, Jaguar Land Rover and the Environment Agency)
> signing the Time To Change Pledge (funded by Department for Health and Comic Relief, run by Mind and Rethink. It has over 500 signatures including Three, Thales, Aviva and Heineken.) 
1 in 4 of us will suffer with mental health[6] at any one time, it can affect anyone at any time and 60% of those are ignited by employers hurting us; not getting the best from us.

The question is no longer if you can risk the Employment Tribunal or if you can afford the ‘Reasonable Adjustments’. The question now is that with your competition taking on this mental health battle in search of a healthier workforce and 3x the profits, can you really afford not to?

If you would like to read more I would ask you have a look at the links referenced and at the Mental Health at Work Report Business in the Community (sponsored by Mercer with support from Royal Mail & Heathrow). If you already have Wellbeing and Mental Health First Aid in place, I would love to hear your success stories so I could ‘sing your praises’ elsewhere.

PLEASE send to your HR team and DARE them to take part in this momentum of change.

Read more of my story at: https://mattstreuli.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/BacktoBlog.html

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/10/10/profits-rack-ftse-100-firms-eye-mental-health-study-finds/
[2] http://news.sky.com/story/work-causes-mental-health-issues-in-60-of-employees-11066428
[3] https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/workplace-wellbeing-index/index-201617-findings/
[4] https://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/employment-the-economic-case
[5] http://www.mindfulemployer.net/business/cost-business-benefits/
[6] https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/about-mental-health

If you need help finding support, call the Mind Infoline between 9am and 6pm Monday to Friday on 0300 123 3393 or visit mind.org.uk If you want to talk to someone right now, Samaritans provide a listening ear on 116 123