Govt plans to transform mental health support

The Prime MInister has announced a new partnership with employers to improve mental health support in the workplace. The initiative is part of a renewed emphasis on addressing the inequalities faced by people experiencing mental health problems.

The Prime Minister has appointed Lord Dennis Stevenson, the long-time campaigner for greater understanding and treatment of mental illness, and Paul Farmer CBE, CEO of Mind and Chair of the NHS Mental Health Taskforce, to drive work with business and the public sector to support mental health in the workplace. They will lead a review on how best to ensure employees with mental health problems are enabled to thrive in the workplace and perform at their best. This will involve practical help including promoting best practice and learning from trailblazer employers, as well as offering tools to organisations, whatever size they are, to assist with employee well-being and mental health. It will also review recommendations around discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of mental health.

The government will also consult employers, charities and legal experts to gather evidence about current discrimination protections for workers with mental ill-health. Existing laws already protect people when mental illness is classed as a disability – when the illness persists for a year or more – but for many common disorders, such as depression, average length of illness can be much shorter and there is anecdotal evidence of people facing issues in employment in these situations.

The move follows on from the report of a taskforce looking at the future of mental health support within the NHS.