Monday 10 October 2016 1:00 am

Just 14 per cent of firms have a formal mental health policy, according to the IoD

Just over one in ten businesses have implemented a formal mental health policy, despite a huge majority recognising the importance wellbeing, new figures show.

A survey of more than 800 business leaders by the IoD found that only 13 per cent of businesses had created plans to support good mental health, similar to health and safety plans.

However, more than 95 per cent said it was “very important” or “quite important” to the performance of business organisations.

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IoD director general Simon Walker said: “Businesses increasingly recognise the importance of good mental health in the workplace. Opening up the conversation, so that employees and employers can discuss mental health in the same way that they talk about physical health must be a priority for the UK as a whole.”

The IoD has responded by launching it's own award for business leaders backing good mental health, with a prize set to be handed out later this month.

It will also host a series of events throughout 2017 to raise awareness of mental health issues in the workplace, with a particular focus on opening up the conversation for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Read More: This is Me: How Barclays is breaking mental health stigma

“While many of the largest firms operating in the UK have been able to devote serious resources toward their employees, it’s a lot more challenging for small firms,” Walker said.

“Managers who run those firms need the support of those in power, and indeed, those like the IoD who are in a position to provide guidance and advice.”