A WREXHAM-based counselling service has backed a Government commissioned report into mental health, estimating up to 300,000 jobs have been lost due to mental health issues – costing the UK economy up to £99bn per year.

The report highlights the role business owners have in dealing with this issue, but also that they do not know where to go for help or how to deal with an issue which still carries a stigma around it.

The report makes 40 recommendations including all businesses having a mental health policy, routinely checking in with staff about mental health issues and encouraging an openness to talking about these issues.

Ed Hewitt-Symonds, director at Kaizen Counselling Ltd, a Wrexham based counselling practice specialising in working with small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), said: “I am delighted to see this report come out as it highlights the importance for all businesses in approaching mental health issues in an open and supportive way.”

He goes on to say: “Mental health challenges can impact on business owners and employees, but potentially have a damaging effect on businesses. In some cases sadly I have seen these result in the business having to close.

“I have been talking to local SMEs in Wrexham and North East Wales about how a mental health plan is good for both the business and also all the people working in it.

“It does not have to be complicated, but so long as it encourages an open approach to these issues – and can point business owners and employees towards the right support – this can start to deal with the stigma around mental health. It also makes financial sense for local businesses as well.”