Charity sector most affected by absence related to mental health

Mental health is increasingly affecting workers in the charity sector, male employees and younger people, data from FirstCare, the UK’s leading workforce absence management system has found.

On average, workplace absence related to mental health accounts for 6% of total employee absences.

The industries with the highest percentage of mental health-related absence, since their database started recording the UK workforce in 2005, are:

  • Charity and care groups with 9% mental health related absence. This includes a 98% increase in reports between 2014-2019 inclusive.
  • Entertainment industry with 8% mental health related absence. This includes a 96% increase in reports between 2014-2019
  • Housing with 8% mental health related absence. This includes a 26% increase in reports between 2014-2019 inclusive

The data shows mental health-related absence has increased most amongst male workers and the younger generation. Between 2014-2019 inclusive, absence related to poor mental health has increased by 49% for men and 94% for workers aged 18 to 25 years old.

With mental health-related absence on the rise, business leaders are now starting to consider the cost to their business and initiatives that can be put in place to improve wellbeing. Based on the average UK salary, FirstCare has calculated that mental health-related absence cost the UK economy £25 billion in 2019.


Ian Caminsky, CEO at FirstCare, said:

“What is clear from these figures is that business leaders across all industries must make employee mental health a top priority.

“Our data shows that 60% of workers will leave their job following two mental health-related absences, so open and transparent discussions in the workplace are crucial to ending the stigma and enabling early intervention for those who need support.

“We encourage businesses we work with to study what the absence data is telling them and put in place progressive, proactive measures to address the issues that staff have. This includes initiatives to address mental health issues at work, such as flexible working, mindfulness training, gym memberships, and financial support.

“Employees will be happier, healthier, and feel more supported at work, taking fewer sick days and boosting productivity as a result.”

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