More people are taking time off due to poor mental health, with the average employee reporting 4.8 days of mental health absence in 2023. As well as impacting productivity and morale, mental health days off now cost the UK economy around £19.5bn per year.

Almost two-fifths (38%) of employees took time off due to mental health in 2023.

How many mental health days off does the average UK employee take each year?






2.19 days

3.19 days

3.36 days

4.8 days

4.8 days










In 2023, mental health absences cost UK businesses £19.5bn.

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But the true cost of poor mental health may be even higher, as almost half of employees report that their mental health takes a toll on their productivity while they're at work — a common symptom of presenteeism.

Affected productivity

of UK employees say their mental health has affected their productivity in the past year.

Stress can originate from any facet of our lives, but often the first employers hear of it is when their people reach breaking point and take time off to recover. To break the cycle, managers must be prepared to step in to protect their teams from burnout.

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Less than half (43%) of UK employees feel their manager is there for wellbeing support.

Most common mental health challenges for UK employees

Click the icons below to explore how managers can help their people with common challenges...

Supporting employees with their financial wellbeing

Workers are increasingly looking for financial assistance from their employer, but faced with limited budget for salary reviews, how can managers provide support?

  1. Team leaders must approach difficult conversations with empathy. Employees may find it difficult to reach out, but they'll value the opportunity to discuss their problems.
  2. Be ready to signpost reputable resources for those who need further guidance. Try MoneyHelper or Citizens Advice.
  3. A webinar or drop-in session with a financial advisor can help employees get to grips with budgeting and financial planning.
  4. Revisit your employee benefits package to see if you could offer further support via a health cash plan or employee assistance scheme.

66% of therapists say financial concerns are causing a decline in mental health.

Free download for employees:

Looking after your wellbeing during the cost of living crisis

Free download

Coping with stress: Covey's Circle of Influence

The 'Circle of Influence' model can help us refocus our thoughts on the things we can control, making future problems seem less overwhelming and easier to manage. This model can be used for both individuals and teams.

Sort your worries into three categories depending on how much control you have over their outcomes. Plan your time and energy around the things you can control and influence.

Circle of concern Circle of influence Circle of control Click each circle to learn more

Is it in my control?

Make a list of the things you already have control over. This might include:

  • Your behaviours and actions
  • How you speak to others
  • Choices about your health
  • Who you follow on social media

If I can't control it, can I influence it?

While it might feel like there's not a lot you can directly control, there's likely to be more that you can influence. For example:

  • Your relationships with other people
  • How you plan your day
  • Who you spend time with
  • How often you say 'no'

If I can't influence or control it, can I try to accept it?

Your circle of concern might include things like:

  • Politics
  • The economy
  • The weather
  • Other people's actions

Employee burn out: Spotting the red flags

Even the most diligent manager can struggle to spot the signs that someone is struggling, but sudden changes in behaviour may indicate a deeper wellbeing issue.

While employees can be reluctant to start the conversation themselves, there are a number of behavioural changes you can look out for.

Avoiding video calls icon

Avoiding video calls or being reluctant to have webcams turned on.

Changing language icon

Changing language and tone, such as being dismissive during group discussions.

Short-tempered responses icon

Emotional or short-tempered responses (in person or via email).

Changes in performance icon

Changes in performance or difficulty with tasks that were previously routine.

Infographic: Preventing burnout

Our traffic light guide can help you spot the early signs of burnout and know when to step in if employees are struggling.

Download the infographic

An open culture helps employers understand what their people need to feel happier and more productive at work. Armed with this knowledge, leaders can confidently invest in a few key wellbeing benefits to improve both employee health and the bottom line.

Affected productivity

of UK employees feel there's a link between workplace culture and their wellbeing.

How can leaders provide meaningful support for stress and mental health?

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