BUSINESSES in Dorset paid more than £18.5million in wages last year to staff taking sick leave from work-related stress, anxiety and depression.

That amounts to more than 171,000 working days taken off by the county’s workforce, according to the founder of a new social enterprise.

Kat Linsley Hood, who spent 20 years working with the charitable sector, has launched Feel Amazing with a campaign to boost people’s mental health.

She hopes 500 businesses in the county will pledge to support employees’ mental health.

She said: “Mental health issues affect over 132,000 people in Dorset each year, of which I am one.

“Whether it’s something that affects you for a day, few days or potentially the rest of your life, it’s a very real challenge for so many of us.

“At work, over 61,000 employees in Dorset each week are likely to have experienced a common mental health issue such as stress, anxiety and depression, however as a society, we still don’t openly talk about it.”

She aims to work with companies companies and provide them with hints, tips, advice and insights from some of the organisations delivering support services.

She describes the initiative as “community action in a simple, effective way that has the power to change lives”.

She is launching her Feel Amazing 500 campaign today, to coincide with Time to Talk Day – an initiative to encourage people to discuss mental health.

Companies who join the campaign and make a donation will receive materials which can be displayed online and around their offices with practical advice. They will also receive information and updates about mental health and wellbeing and get invitations to events.

Contact Kat Linsley Hood on 07763 900744 or email

One in four people experience mental health problems at some point in their lives. Today’s Time To Talk Day initiative encourages people to have a conversation about the issue in any way they can. Details are at