Prime Minister announces review of workplace practices, reveals Stuart Stone

mental health issues

As part of a far-reaching reform package, the government is to review mental health practices in the workplace and launch a new £67million digital platform for diagnosis and therapy, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced.

Mental health issues cost the UK economy £15bn per year in lost productivity and account for nearly a quarter of NHS activity. Yet according to research by AXA PPP Healthcare, fewer than half of employees would tell their boss the truth if they were taking a day off because of stress, compared to the 88% who would reveal they had flu.

During the annual Charity Commission lecture on January 9th, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of recognising the vital role organisations can play in establishing parity between mental and physical health issues.

“For too long mental illness has been something of a hidden injustice in our country, shrouded in a completely unacceptable stigma and dangerously disregarded as a secondary issue to physical health. Yet left unaddressed, it destroys lives, it separates people from each other and deepens the divisions within our society.”

The review, led by Lord Dennis Stevenson and Paul Farmer CEO of mental health charity Mind, will examine the best ways to support employees with mental health issues at work in consultation with both businesses and the public sector.

It will also seek to promote mental health best practice in the workplace, review recommendations around workplace discrimination on the grounds of mental health, and assist with broader challenges relating to employee wellbeing and mental health.

Also included in the Prime Minister’s package of reforms were the introduction of mental health first aid training in schools, a reassessment of mental health services for children and adolescents, and a £67 million investment in a new digital platform allowing workers to check mental health symptoms and access digital therapy.

The Prime Minister added: “I want us to employ the power of government as a force for good to transform the way we deal with mental health problems right across society, at every stage of life.”

“What I am announcing are the first steps in our plan to transform the way we deal with mental illness in this country at every stage of a person’s life: not in our hospitals, but in our classrooms, at work and in our communities.”

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