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Good mental health in the workplace – a must for employers and working parents


Over the years, Deloitte has recognised the importance of good mental health in the workplace. It is not only the right thing to do, but it is also good for business.

Mental health is also a focus area in our work at the Deloitte Health Equity Institute and we have been working closely with organisations like Place2Be to also highlight the challenges and disparities around children and young people’s mental health.

Our latest report, published in May 2024, is designed to inspire employers to take stock of mental health in the workplace, and makes the financial case for investment in supporting employees and their families mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Poor mental health among the workforce imposes substantial costs on employers. Investing in promoting and protecting a mentally healthy workplace yields valuable returns – including better employee engagement, talent retention, reduced absence, higher performance, and increased productivity. Having an organisational culture that centres around mental health also helps build trust and boost brand recognition.

Our report shows that there is also a growing acceptance and use of digital mental health platforms by employees, making it easier for employers to provide help. When reflecting on their own mental health, more people feel supported by their employer than when we last asked two years ago, but 44% still don’t.

While mental health may have stabilised for working adults post the pandemic, children and young people’s mental health is worsening, with data showing that one in five having a probable mental health disorder in 2023, up from one in nine in 2017. For working parents, balancing work and parenting responsibilities is difficult enough, and having concerns over your child’s mental health can make this even more challenging. 

When employees were asked about their child’s mental health, nearly half (46%) reported being ‘very concerned’ or ‘somewhat concerned’. Of those, half said that their performance at work is impacted to some degree, either through lower productivity at work, needing to take days off to care for children, or leaving their job altogether. 

As well as the social consequences, the impact of worsening children and young people’s mental health is proving costly for businesses, with an additional 16% on top of the direct employee mental health-related costs. There is an opportunity for employers to do more to support employees and their families’ mental health, to promote a mentally healthy workplace, and mitigate the impact on their bottom line.

Most parents prioritise seeking external help before resorting to measures that could impact their employment, such as reducing work hours or quitting their jobs altogether. However, one in 100 parents who left their job last year said it was due entirely to the mental health and emotional wellbeing of a child.

Employers need to consider options to protect the wellbeing of their employees and provide channels for working parents to access support for their children’s mental health. Proactively supporting working parents will limit business disruption and will also demonstrate genuine care and support for employees.

 We found that people expect more support from leadership, and leaders need to set the tone at the top of their organisation, keep mental health high on the agenda, and consider the requirements of working parents.

We recognise different organisations and businesses will have different resources to support employees’ mental health and wellbeing. We hope that this report will serve as a valuable resource for employers who are committed to creating a better workplace for their employees.