A new survey has revealed that almost three quarters of British businesses do not have a strategy in place to deal with mental health issues.

A survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Institute of Directors (IoD) shows that 74% of businesses do not have a mental health policy, and just 7% of employers have discussed mental health issues with their employees.

Some 82% of companies said that they should be doing more to promote mental wellbeing, while 68% of employees said that it was their company's responsibility to make provisions for mental health issues.

However, 74% of staff said that they would prefer to discuss mental health issues outside of their place of work with a friend or family member.

Simon Walker, director general of the IoD, said: "There may come a time when people are as comfortable talking about their mental health as they are talking about the going to the dentist, but we're not there yet.

"Huge progress has been made, but society still has a long way to go in increasing awareness and understanding of mental health issues. Businesses have an enormous role to play in creating an environment where such issues can be discussed openly, effectively and safely.

"After all, we spend a huge amount of lives at work and among colleagues, so we have to take steps to ensure that the work environment, particularly in smaller businesses, is one where mental health issues are well understood."

The results of the survey were revealed on national Time to Talk day – a national day created to promote more openness around mental health.