An independent review into how employers can better support the mental health of their employees was published last month, and the findings are eye-opening. Here we take a brief look at the findings in The Thriving at Work report, what the authors think we should strive for as a nation and some recommendations you can take away to implement in your workplace today.
The Thriving at Work report
In January the Prime Minister commissioned Lord Dennis Stevenson, mental health campaigner and former HBOS chair, and Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind to carry out an independent investigation into how employers can support the mental health of the people who work for them, including those with existing mental health problems or poor wellbeing.
The ultimate goal was to gain a comprehensive understanding of how employers can help these people not only remain in work but thrive in their workplace.
What the review found
The statistics Stevenson and Farmer unveiled in their report clearly demonstrate the significant challenge the UK is facing regarding mental health at work.
They found that, while the number of people diagnosed with a long-term mental health condition who are employed is on the rise, they are less likely to be in employment than those with a physical health condition or than those without any health conditions at all.
Even more worryingly, a staggering 300,000 of those diagnosed with a long-term mental health condition lose their job every year. That is approximately twice as many as those who don’t have a mental health diagnosis, and considerably higher than those with a long-term physical ailment.
Crucially the authors, throughout their report, highlight that mental health is something we all have to varying degrees, and that we all experience different stages of the spectrum – from thriving to being ill – at different times. This viewpoint is bolstered by their research finding that around 15 per cent of people at work have the symptoms of a mental health condition.
The strength of these findings has wide ranging implications across the UK workforce and in turn the economy and it is probably no surprise the authors concluded that something needed to be done.
What do the authors want to happen?
Following on from their research, Stevenson and Farmer put forward a proposal that we should strive to achieve as a country over the next 10 years. Their vision centres on enabling individuals to have the tools and confidence to look after their own mental health and that of those around them.
They also want all organisations, regardless of their size, to be prepared to help those with a mental health condition thrive in the workplace, from the recruitment stage and throughout their career. For businesses to be able to do this Stevenson and Farmer envisage all employers will need to develop the knowledge and tools to deal with – and attempt to prevent – mental health issues caused or worsened by work, as well as knowing how to support any employees to get help for a mental health disorder where it is causing them to take time off work.
What can you do?
In order to make progress towards achieving their vision Stevenson and Farmer would like every business and organisation to sign up to a set of “mental health core standards”. These are:
• Create a mental health at work plan and communicate it to your employees
• Develop an awareness of mental health in everyone in your workplace
• Encourage your employees to talk openly about mental health and the support available for those that need it
• Review working conditions across the company to ensure that everyone has a good work-life balance, with opportunities for development in their role
• Encourage effective people management using line managers and supervisors
• Monitor the mental health and wellbeing of all employees routinely
The report goes on to make further recommendations organisations can introduce that are definitely worth a read. You can find the full list of recommendations on page 28 of the report.
Investing in your employees’ mental wellbeing may not only save you money through reducing sickness and increasing productivity, it also helps to protect their quality of life. Our courses help your employees develop a positive mindset and build emotional resilience so they can thrive both at work and at home. Find out more here or get in touch today.