SMALL and medium sized businesses need more support to help them address their staff’s mental health, a company boss believes.

Angela Piromalli, managing director of Rock Recruitment and chairman of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Dorset, says smaller businesses often lack the resources of larger corporations to deal with the issue.

The IoD is offering a mental health “hub” for its members to help nurture good mental health and spot the signs of problems.

Ms Piromalli said: “Prince Harry talking about his psychological struggle with the death of his mother underlines the fact it doesn’t matter what you do or who you are, mental health is no longer an issue that can be ignored.

“The IoD is committed to opening up the conversation for small and medium-sized businesses, which often lack the resources of larger corporate organisations to address their employees’ mental health.”

The IoD’s mental health hub includes practical advice and the shared experience of business leaders on how they look after their own mental health and that of their employees.

“The resource was in response to a recent survey of IoD members showed that they recognise the importance of mental health but lack a strategy to successfully manage it,” said Ms Piromalli.

“Though more than 80 per cent believe good workplace mental health is important, fewer than one in seven members have a formal mental health policy in their workplace. That’s despite more than half of IoD members having been approached by staff complaining of poor mental health.”

She said the business impact of poor mental health could include poor quality work and decision-making, higher staff turnover and workplace conflict.

She added: “Approaching an employer to share the fact that you have psychological pressures in your life, be they temporary or longer term, should not be another challenge you have to deal with and it’s encouraging that members acknowledge that they are behind the curve.

“There may come a time when people are as comfortable talking about their mental health as they are talking about going to the dentist, but we’re not there yet.“As the UK approaches full employment, this is also commercially astute. Good employees have more choice than ever about where to work, and a robust mental health policy should be an attractive incentive when choosing future employers. According to the CIPD, good mental health should mean not just a reduction in absenteeism, but less obvious benefits such as a reduction in conflict with colleagues, better concentration, increased speed and better patience which, in turn, results in better customer service. If Prince Harry can do it, so can you.”