Mind's Chief Executive Paul Farmer, together with Lord Dennis Stevenson, was asked in January 2017 by the government to carry out an independent review into how employers can better support individuals with mental health problems remain in and thrive in work. The result of the extensive review were published on 26 October 2017.
The review was supported by an independent study on the cost to employers of the mental health problems of staff which was carried out by Deloitte. This found:
These figures are shocking. They also make clear that it is massively in both employers' and the government's interest to invest more in improving the nation's mental health. Mind is more concerned about the human cost behind these numbers.
Thriving at Work sets out a vision as to how progress can be achieved. The report's authors envisage that in ten years' time a number of changes will have happened:-
The report recommends that all employers adopt a set of "mental health core standards" which all employers should be capable of implementing. Employers should:
The report calls for public sector employers and private sector ones with more than 500 employees to deliver enhanced standard which should:
Employers alone cannot the cultural change envisaged in the report, which sees a role for trade unions, industry groups, professional bodies and accrediting organisation to provide support. This can be by way of industry groups such as the Federation of Small Businesses providing guidance on how to implement the core standards, or professional bodies such as the Federation of Master Builders including mental health awareness in their training and accreditation programmes. These bodies can also advise employers on occupational health services and insurance products to help support the mental health of their staff.
Predictably a substantial role in effecting change is envisaged for the government. It should:
Thriving at Work presents an ambitious vision and one that will not be easy to achieve. It envisages that a ten years plan will be needed to achieve the levels of cultural changed needed amongst employers. Mental health campaigns including information and support for improving workplace mental health are needed, and particular support should be given to small and medium sized employers and to the self-employed. Crucially, more evidence about how workers' mental health and wellbeing can be best supported is needed and there should be further research and evidence building at the heart of the ten year plan.
As we write, the government has announced, but not fleshed out, a ten year strategy to help more disabled people into work.
The report can be found here.
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