When the Prime Minister commissioned an independent review into mental health and employment led by Dennis Stevenson and Mind CEO Paul Farmer back in 2017, it formed part of a range of measures aimed at transforming mental health support in our schools, workplaces and communities, which was arguably long overdue.
Its findings were laid out in a report entitled Thriving at Work and continue serve as the most recent and thorough review into mental health support in business across the UK.
The review revealed 300,000 people with a long-term mental health problem fall out of work every year, at a cost of up to £99 billion to the UK economy. In addition, the human cost of failing to address mental health in the workplace is clear.
Every business leader and employer has a responsibility to support employees with mental health problems and promote the mental wellbeing of their entire workforce and while there has been increased representation of mental health issues in the media and workplaces in recent years, there is still a long way to go to ensure that every business is providing the best possible support to employees, enabling them to thrive at work.
The 2017 report recommended ‘mental health core standards’ that all employers can adopt to better support the mental health of their staff and themselves.
The core standards:
- Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan.
- Develop mental health awareness among employees.
- Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling.
- Provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development.
- Promote effective people management through line managers and supervisors.
- Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.
There are also enhanced standards for employers who can and should do more to lead the way. These include increasing transparency through better reporting, improving disclosure processes and providing in-house mental health support and signposting.
The question for employers now is how do we go about this?
Even with the best intentions, lots of employers aren’t quite sure where to get started: what should a mental health plan contain and how can we create a culture of openness?
Our friends and campaign partners at Mind have created an online guide designed to help employers of all sizes to understand and implement the core and enhanced standards outlined in the review.
Return to the IoD Mental Health hub