Promoting positive mental health

The Department of Health advises that one in four of us will experience mental ill health at some point in our lives. It is therefore important that employers and their staff take steps to promote positive mental health and support those experiencing mental ill health.

Promoting positive mental health in your workplace can be hugely beneficial. Staff with good mental health are more likely to perform well, have good attendance levels and be engaged in their work.

We believe in workplaces where everyone can thrive.

We also believe in the role of employers, employees and businesses in creating thriving communities. Good mental health at work and good management go hand in hand and there is strong evidence that workplaces with high levels of positive mental health are more productive.

work related mental health costs
World Health Organisation
MIND quote mental health at work

‘Thriving at Work’: A Stevenson & Farmer report

In 2017, the government commissioned Lord Stevenson and Paul Farmer (Chief Executive of Mind) to independently review the role employers can play to better support individuals with mental health conditions in the workplace.

The ‘Thriving at Work’ report link to external website sets out what employers can do to better support all employees, including those with mental health problems to remain in and thrive through work.

It includes a detailed analysis that explores the significant cost of poor mental health to UK businesses and the economy as a whole. Poor mental health costs employers between £33 billion and *£42 billion a year, with an annual cost to the UK economy of between £74 billion and £99 billion. *This has now been updated in a report from Deloitte in Jan 2020, to have increased 17% since 2017, with the figure now sitting around £45 billion.

The review quantifies how investing in supporting mental health at work is good for business and productivity. The most important recommendation is that all employers, regardless of size or industry, should adopt 6 ‘mental health core standards’ that lay basic foundations for an approach to workplace mental health. It also details how large employers and the public sector can develop these standards further through a set of ‘mental health enhanced standards’. The review also makes a series of recommendations to government and other bodies.

What are the laws surrounding mental health at work?

Most people with ongoing mental health problems meet the definition of disability in the Equality Act (2010) in England, Scotland and Wales and the Disability Discrimination Act (1995, as amended) in Northern Ireland. This means that some of these people with mental health problems are protected from discrimination and harassment and are entitled to reasonable adjustments to adapt to their job or work.

To be considered disabled under equality legislation, a person must have an impairment that has “a substantial, adverse, and long-term impact on their ability to carry out everyday tasks”.

Reasonable adjustments

A disabled person is entitled to ask for reasonable adjustments to their job or workplace to accommodate their needs, examples of these could be; changing work patterns or hours, flexibility to work at home where possible, access to remote working laptop and software to facilitate, excusing someone from work functions or specific social environments.

Future legislation

Following a presentation in October 2018 of a 200,000-strong public petition to Downing Street and the subsequent publication of an Open Letter to the Government from over 50 business leaders highlighting employer support for the issue, there was a debate held in parliament on the 17th January 2019 for the need to write Mental Health First Aid and wellbeing into law.

Businesses supporting the change include PwC, WHSmith, Royal Mail and Thames Water.

Sponsored by a cross-party trio of MPs, Luciana Berger MP (Lab), Norman Lamb MP (Lib Dem) and Johnny Mercer MP (Con), and supported by over 60 cross-party MPs, the debate follows calls from the public, employers and mental health campaigners for the Government to follow through on its 2017 manifesto pledge to change the law and put mental and physical first aid on an equal footing in the workplace.

HSE mental health first aid at work
where's your head at?
10 keys to happier living

Looking after your own mental health

We can all take steps to improve our own mental health, and build our resilience – our ability to cope with adversity.

We love Action for Happiness – ’10 Keys to Happier Living’

Based on the latest research, they identified these 10 keys that consistently tend to make life happier and more fulfilling. Together they spell “GREAT DREAM”.

Giving – Do things for others
Relating – Connect with other people
Exercising – Take care of your body
Awareness – Live life mindfully
Trying Out – Keep learning new things

Direction – Have goals to look forward to
Resilience – Find ways to bounce back
Emotions – Look for what’s good
Acceptance – Be comfortable with who you are
Meaning – Be part of something bigger

Why not try some of these out as part of your own personal wellbeing plan.

How can we help?

We work in association with MHFA England to deliver evidence-based, accredited Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training courses, as well as bespoke courses.

The training is designed to reduce stigma and teach practical skills that can be used every day in the workplace. It teaches people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill-health and provide help on a first aid basis.

  • We work with you to develop the practical steps you can be doing now that will ensure they link into your long-term staff wellbeing plan to deliver benefits to your organisation.
  • We are able to adapt our solutions to fit your organisations culture and staffing. We pride ourselves on being flexible and personable which will ensure positive and solution-focused outcomes for your organisation.
  • We care about the impact of our training in your organisation. We take a holistic approach with you and your staff, offering additional support post-qualification including supervision and online communities.
SkillBase First Aid Mental Health Training Courses

Find more on Mental Health in the Workplace over on the blog!

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