Campaign for Mental Health Support in the Workplace
Over fifty CEO’s from UK companies have signed an open letter to Theresa May campaigning for better mental health support at work. These companies include WH Smith, Royal Mail and Lord Sugar’s businesses. The campaign, which was launched by Mental Health First Aid, calls for every employee to be able to access a trained member of staff who can offer support and guidance regarding any mental health issues. The letter has been signed by over 200,000 people calling for a law change which officially gives mental health first aid the same status as physical health first aid.
Fionnuala Bonnar, Chief Operating Officer of Mental Health First Aid was a guest on this weeks Call You and Yours (broadcast 20th November) to speak abut the campaign. The Radio 4 programme featured real life stories from people who have experienced mental health and how this was dealt with in the workplace. Callers talked about the lack of understanding and tolerance they had faced at work with one woman describing how she suffered from panic attacks and just needed five minutes to breathe and practice some mindfulness. She was not given those five minutes. There were some positive stories but the overwhelming response from callers was that there was not enough support or knowledge. Considering that a recent MIND study showed almost half of UK workers have experienced mental health, this simply has to change. The training that is called for would involve teaching staff how to speak to someone suffering from a panic attack or who is showing signs of anxiety and depression and to be able to offer and recommend further help and support.
As Professor Mark Watson-Gandy, chairman of Mental Health First Aid told the Telegraph “Mental ill health costs UK businesses dearly and the negative impact on a person’s quality of life is immeasurable, so it makes complete sense that every workplace is legally bound to make provision for both mental and physical first aid.”
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And to listen to Call You and Yours from 20th November go to: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00017sq