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South: Mental health hits law firms worst, but they spend the least on prevention

By Dan Teuton
30 May 2018

Legal firms spend the least but have the highest proportion of employees with stress and mental health-related illnesses, a survey has shown.

The study by Aon Employee Benefits, the UK health and benefits business of Aon plc, showed marked sector differences in the number of employers reporting employee stress and mental health-related illnesses.

Of the five markets analysed, the legal and professional Services sector showed the highest incidence of employers (82%) that reported an increase in mental health-related illness in their workforces. Also high was the technology sector, where more than three quarters (78%) of businesses noticed an increase. Sixty-two percent of finance sector firms reported an increase, while, at the comparatively lower end, 50% of manufacturing and 40% of pharmaceutical companies reported increases. These compare to an overall UK figure of employers reporting an increase from 55% last year to 68% in 2018.

The survey comes as The Business Magazine is chairing a roundtable debate on Attitudes to Mental Health in the Workplace - hosted and sponsored by Cardinal Corporate, part of Cardinal Clinic, Berkshire's only private mental health clinic.

The survey also noted the percentage of companies that have a dedicated budget for health and wellbeing programmes. Legal and professional services have comparatively the lowest proportion (11%) of firms with a dedicated budget, in contrast to having the highest incidence of employers reporting an increase in mental health-related issues. A third of participants in the finance sector and 24% of the technology sector have a dedicated budget, while 13% of manufacturing firms and 60% of pharmaceutical firms have such a budget.

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