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Dragon's Den's Duncan Bannatyne launches campaign to address mental health at work

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Dragon's Den entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne has joined forces with the mental health charity Mind to launch a viral film bout the cost of putting on a brave face at work.

The businessman provides the voiceover for the new film, part of Mind's Taking Care of Business campaign which over the next five years aims to improve working environments and working lives.

The campaign already has the backing of many big businesses and over the next few weeks it's hoped the viral will gain momentum and be viewed by thousands of employers and employees.

The film, illustrates the lengths that staff will go to in an attempt to hide their mental distress and quite literally 'Put On A Happy Face'. Workers wear Stepford wives style smiling masks but their inner feelings manifest themselves around the office.

Meanwhile their employer is scared and confused about how to respond to their problems, the soundtrack of ‘Put On A Happy Face' from 60's musical classic ‘Bye Bye Birdie' highlights the irony of this.

It sheds light on the prevalence of mental health issues in the workplace. Every year, according to Mind, one in six people experience a mental health problem caused by work and half a million people are so stressed by their jobs they believe it is making them ill. But there remains a culture of denial among many employers despite the financial implications for their business. Employers with an unhappy workforce see their profits suffer, with sick leave, 'presenteeism' and staff turnover due to mental distress costing British businesses nearly £26 billion per year.

Bannatyne said: "I've been in a tough situation with my own mental health, which made me realise how important it is for the workplace to be a supportive place where people can be honest about how they feel. Many employers still see stress and mental health problems at work as a sign of weakness which simply isn't the case, and people are forced to put on a brave face rather than being allowed to work through their problems." 

"We spend a huge majority of our lives at work so it is vital that the workplace is a mentally healthy environment. Employees and employers need to work together to make this happen. Ensuring everyone at work is happy and healthy plays an important part in making your business a success, and no employer can afford to overlook that."

Mind's chief executive Paul Farmer added: "Every workplace employs staff with mental health problems but in many businesses a culture of denial exists. Ignoring distress and putting on a brave face won't make it go away, it will just make things worse. Managing mental health properly helps keep staff in work, improves performance and saves money in the long run."  

Duncan Bannatyne is also supporting Mind's call for workers to reclaim their lunch hour. The charity will be holding a mass picnic at Potter's Fields in central London on Monday 17 May at 1pm and will be encouraging city workers to join in.