New Frontier research shows how firms can measure the impact of mental ill-health on productivity

Mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK. As reported by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, mental health problems accounted for 70 million sick days in 2013 and cost the UK economy some £70 to £100 billion. The City Mental Health Alliance (CMHA), a business-led collaborative that aims to create a culture of good mental health for City workers, asked Frontier (Europe) to investigate what good mental health in the workplace looks like and how it can be measured. Frontier’s report has been published today.

Frontier’s analysis identifies a number of workplace triggers for common mental health problems. These include a lack of assistance or support, a lack of autonomy or control, heavy work demands, repeated or continuous change, lack of clarity over roles and responsibilities, and poor workplace relationships, including bullying. The impacts in the workplace differ across individuals and organisations, and depend on personal resilience, the nature of the work involved and the level of support offered by the employer and colleagues. Costs to the employer include increased absenteeism, lower productivity, higher staff turnover, litigation and reputational risk.

In collaboration with CMHA members, Frontier developed a range of practical methods through which the mental health of their employees can be ‘measured’, and the impacts of interventions aiming to promote good mental health could be assessed. These include questions that can be asked in staff surveys, quantified metrics that can be monitored over time and wider qualitative measures.

Frontier (Europe) advises a wide range of organisations on mental health policy and wider health and care issues.

For more information, please contact Goran Serdarevic on, or call +44 (0)20 7031 7000.



Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2013