Employers pledge to address mental health in the workplace
Posted Friday 29 June 2012
This week (Tuesday 26 June) Health Minister Earl Howe launched a pledge for organisations to take simple measures to safeguard their employees’ mental wellbeing.
This is the first pledge under the Government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal that relates specifically to mental health. In a month that has also seen four MPs talk openly about their own mental health problems in Parliament, it represents an important step in bringing mental health issues to wider attention.
The pledge accompanies new mental health guidance from the Department of Health which sets out to improve the workplace support employers provide for people with a mental health condition. Our consultations with employers have consistently revealed a lack of confidence in managing mental health issues and we welcome the Department of Health’s lead.
Employers will pledge to embed some basics principles for making workplace adjustments for those with mental health conditions within their HR procedures.
Launching the pledge and guidance material, Earl Howe said:
A good working environment is crucial for our wellbeing - and it can help aid the recovery of mental health conditions. However, stigma and lack of understanding mean many remain unemployed or underutilised.
The pledge and guidance were developed by a group lead by Professor Stephen Bevan of the Work Foundation which included Mind.
We have been working closely with employers and stakeholder organisations for the last three years to raise awareness of the prevalence and human and financial costs of mental health problems in the workplace. The new guidance is a welcome development and builds on our own ‘Taking care of business’ resources.