A new study concludes that underneath the stigma that surrounds mental health and prevents open discussion on the subject, the UK faces a significant mental health challenge at work.

While there are more people at work with mental health conditions than ever before, up to 300,000 people with a long term mental health problem lose their jobs each year and at a much higher rate than those with physical health conditions.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, and co-author of the Thriving At Work report, said mental health was a taboo subject in many workplaces and that: “Opportunities are missed to prevent poor mental health and ensure that employees who may be struggling get the support they need.”

“In many instances, employers simply don’t understand the crucial role they can play, or know where to go for advice and support.”

The review makes a number recommendations for the workplace, starting with a simple call for all employers, irrespective of size or industry to focus on core mental health standards. These standards are:

  • Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan
  • Build mental health awareness by making information and support accessible
  • Encourage open conversations about mental health
  • Provide good working conditions and ensure employees have a healthy work-life balance
  • Promote effective people management, with line managers holding regular conversations about health and well-being with their staff
  • Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing

Mrs May, Prime Minister said: “It is only by making this an everyday concern for everyone that we change the way we see mental illness, so that striving to improve your mental health – whether at work or at home – is seen as just as positive as improving our physical well-being.”

Read the full report here

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