Mental health a vital issue for employment
Posted Tuesday 30 November 2010
Mind Cymru today launched a crucial briefing on mental health and employment, calling on all political parties and the next Welsh Assembly Government to raise awareness of mental health issues among employers and employees. The briefing builds on the Mind Cymru manifesto published in October 2010, and is one of five to be released laying the foundation for the pledges in the manifesto.
In the wake of the recession, employment and worklessness continue to be major issues for the UK. Wales has been particularly badly hit by the economic downturn with many people becoming unemployed, or finding it hard to get into employment. The issue of mental health in the workplace is more important than ever.
- In January 2010, the working age employment rate was 68.9 per cent in Wales, compared to 72.4 per cent across the UK as a whole.
- Only 21 per cent of people with mental health problems are in employment – compared with 74 per cent of the overall working age population, and 47 per cent of the total number of people who declared themselves disabled as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act.
- Fewer than four in 10 employers would recruit someone with a mental health problem.
It’s not just entering the workplace that’s difficult. People in work are often scared to tell employers that they have mental health problems or that they are experiencing stress or depression.
Work-related mental ill health costs the UK economy up to £26 billion every year through lost working days, staff turnover and lower productivity. With better interventions, these costs could be cut by a third. Importantly, the briefing sets out a number of ways to address these issues.
Lindsay Foyster, Director of Mind Cymru, commented:
In the current economic climate, issues around mental health, wellbeing and employment have never been more important. Employers need to create a culture where staff feel comfortable discussing mental health problems, and the discrimination which stops people employing those with experience of mental distress must be challenged.
Key decision makers, including politicians and candidates for next year’s National Assembly for Wales elections must acknowledge and act on these very real issues which affect real people. With one in four people experiencing mental distress in the course of their lifetime, mental wellbeing is an issue for everyone.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind said:
I’m fully behind Mind Cymru’s briefing and the issues it raises. Earlier this year Mind launched the Taking Care of Business campaign which aims to get employers across Wales and England to be more understanding about mental health problems and create more mentally healthy workplaces. Unfortunately, awareness of mental distress is still extremely poor and most managers wrongly believe that mental health problems do not affect their workforce. We must challenge this misconception and better equip managers to help their colleagues who might be experiencing mental health issues at work.
Kate Bennett, National Director for Wales for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “We’ve been working in partnership with Mind Cymru and other organisations to challenge the discrimination faced by people with mental health conditions through our 'Mental health is your business’ campaign.
These issues cannot be solved overnight but employers and employees need to take responsibility for making sure that people with a mental health condition are treated equally and fairly when it comes to finding and keeping employment.
To read the briefing in full, please visit: www.mind.org.uk or contact
|Ruth Coombs||Rachel Bowen|
|Influence and Change Manager||Policy and Social Inclusion Officer|
|T: 029 2034 6575||T: 029 2034 6588|
|e: firstname.lastname@example.org||e : email@example.com|
 Office for Wales, 2010
 Department for Work and Pensions, 2009
 Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health, 2009
Notes to editors
- Mind is the leading mental health charity in Wales and England. We work to create a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress.
- Please note that Mind is not an acronym and should be set in title case.
- To read the summary and full versions of Mind Cymru’s Manifesto in Welsh and English, please visit: http://www.mind.org.uk/news/4009_mind_cymru_launches_manifesto
- Information on Mind’s ‘Taking care of business’ campaign can be found at: http://www.mind.org.uk/employment
- For more information on the Equality and Human Rights Commission Wales’ ‘Mental health is your business’, please see: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/wales/projects/your-business-workplace-policies-on-domestic-abuse-and-mental-health