POOR employee mental health is costing UK companies up to £45 billion a year with Scottish companies among the worst affected, according to analysis from Deloitte published today.

This constitutes a rise of 16 percent, or an extra £6bn a year, since 2016.

In Scotland, the report finds that annual costs of poor mental health per employee are £1578, higher than several key regions across the UK.

READ MORE: SNP minister to meet Finnish mental health experts

The research also found that it pays to support employees’ mental health. On average, for every £1 spent on supporting mental health, employers get £5 back on their investment in reduced “presenteeism” – where employees work when they are not at their most productive – absenteeism and staff turnover.

In Scotland, these trends’ annual cost on businesses is an estimated £304 per employee for absenteeism and £219 for staff turnover. Presenteeism reportedly costs Scots employers £1074 per employee every year.

The data shows that higher return on investment can be achieved through early interventions, such as organisation-wide culture change and education, rather than the in-depth support that may be needed at a later stage.

Young people are the worst affected. Employers lose the equivalent of 8.3% of the salaries of those aged 18-29 as a result of poor mental health. The young are also less likely to disclose problems and more likely to use their holiday instead of taking days off work.

READ MORE: Third of Scots uncomfortable talking about mental health struggles

Garry Tetley, Deloitte mental health champion for Scotland (inset), said: “Understanding more about the relationship between mental health and work is in all of our interests.

“Having the ability to work outside of normal working hours can add to the challenge of maintaining good mental health.

“The costs of this are significant, for those with poor mental health and for employers, and we hope this analysis can help both.”