An independent review of mental health and employers called ‘Thriving at Work’, led by Lord Dennis Stevenson and Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, highlighted how employers can better support the mental health of all employees, including those with mental health problems.
It is estimated that the number of people forced to stop work as a result of mental health problems is around 50% higher than for those with physical health conditions. The review proposes that with positive action, dramatic improvements could be made over the next ten years to reduce this disparity.
Mental health core standards are proposed which all employers should implement:
- produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan
- develop mental health awareness among employees
- encourage open conversations about mental health
- make support available when employees are struggling
- provide employees with good working conditions
- ensure employees have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development
- promote effective people management
- routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.
More ambitious ‘enhanced’ standards are also proposed for employers, such as public sector and larger employers, who can do more to lead the way:
- increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting
- improve the disclosure process
- provide tailored in-house mental health support and signposting to clinical services
The report recognises the significant role of the NHS in supporting workplace mental health and improving access to psychological therapies through the IAPT programme. It recommends that the Government and NHS works to:
- enable and encourage IAPT and other mental health services to provide quick and convenient access to care to fit around employment, and
- improve patient access to their personal health record, empowering employees to share their data and information with their employer when they wish to do so, where it can be done safely and securely, to support people to thrive in work
- develop its current offer on mental health for its own workforce through the Healthy Workforce Programme and ensure that every NHS Trust arms its employees with basic tools for prevention and self-care
Lord Stevenson spoke about the review at a conference hosted by The Association of British Insurers (ABI) in early November. The event brought together employers and insurance companies to discuss strategies to support employees affected by mental health issues.
This week, Mayden is signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge to make visible our commitment to good mental health in the workplace. Find out more in the latest blog on the Mayden website and join the conversation on Twitter using #timetotalk.