At the start of this year, the Prime Minister commissioned an independent review into how employers can better support all individuals currently in work, including those with mental ill health or poor well-being, to remain in and thrive through work. Many employers are already creating healthy, inclusive workplaces, but more needs to be done so that employers provide the support needed for employees with mental health conditions.
This review, conducted by Lord Stevenson and Paul Farmer CBE (Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity, since 2006), has found that around 300,000 people are leaving their jobs each year due to mental illness – costing employers up to £42 billion annually.
Following the publication of the report last month, the Prime Minister confirmed that NHS England and the Civil Service – two of the country’s largest employers – will abide by the recommendations of the report, providing in-house tailored mental health support, introducing tools to help employers to manage employees look after the mental health of themselves and their colleagues, and ensure support is in place for those that need it.
The Government has made it a priority to tackle the injustices associated with mental illness. Many of our most successful businesses are already leading the way in this area – and reaping the rewards as a result. It is only by making this an everyday concern for everyone that we change attitudes towards mental illness.
The UK could and should be one of the leading nations in relation to mental health. By making mental health at work a priority, we can help reduce stigma, improve the mental health of the population as a whole and the support available for those who need it, and in the process improve the UK’s productivity and economic growth.
The Government will be working with business organisations like the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), to help ensure that these recommendations are applied as widely as possible in the private sector as well as the public sector, helping ensure that our society truly becomes one where mental health is treated in as understanding a manner as physical health, and that the taboo once associated with mental health is banished once and for all.