In January 2017 the Prime Minister commissioned a review by Lord Stevenson and Paul Farmer (CEO of Mind, and Chair of the NHS Mental Health Taskforce) into workplace mental health. The purpose of this review was to investigate how employers can better support all individuals in employment, including those with mental ill health or poor well-being, to remain in and thrive through work.
In their report ‘Thriving at work’, published in October 2017, Stevenson and Farmer concluded that underneath the stigma that surrounds mental health and prevents open discussion on the subject, the UK faces a significant mental health challenge at work. The report sets out a clear framework, The Mental Health Core Standards, to help drive improvements in the awareness of and support structures for mental health in the workplace. Lets first look at the Thriving at Work approach and vision.
THE THRIVING AT WORK APPROACH
The starting point of the Thriving at Work approach is that the correct way to view mental health is as something that we all have and we will fluctuate between thriving, struggling and being ill and needing to take time-off work. People can be at any one of these stages, including those with common mental health problems and severe mental illness. One of the key messages in the review is that an individual can have a serious mental health problem but can still be thriving at work with the right support in place.
The review suggests that we all need to become more aware of our own, and other’s, mental health and how to cope with mental health when it inevitably fluctuates.
THE THRIVING AT WORK VISION
The Thriving at Work vision is that in ten years’ time the following changes will have happened:#
- Employees in all types of employment have good work, which contributes positively to their mental health, our society and our economy.
- Every one of us will have the knowledge, tools and confidence, to understand and look after our own mental health and the mental health of those around us.
- All organisations, whatever their size, will be:
- equipped with the awareness and tools to not only address but prevent mental ill health caused or intensified by work;
- equipped to support individuals with a mental health condition to thrive, starting from recruitment and extending throughout the organisation;
- aware of how to get access to timely help to reduce sickness absence caused by mental ill health;
- All of these measures result in dramatically reducing the proportion of people with a long term mental health condition who have to leave employment each year and ensure that all who can, benefit from the positive impacts of good work.
THE MENTAL HEALTH CORE STANDARDS
In order to achieve this vision, the report sets out a framework of mental health core standards, which they believe can be quickly adopted across all workplaces in the UK, at little or no cost.
The Mental Health Core Standards are as follows:
- 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.
These mental health core standards are drawn from best practice and are evidence based, as far as possible. The report does however recognise that this is an ongoing piece of work.
DOES YOUR ORGANISATION HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE TO MEET THESE STANDARDS?
A good place to start is to take our short Mental Health at Work Quiz which will take you through the six areas of ‘work design’ that highlight the primary sources of stress at work. This can be circulated to the whole team to give a better idea of how your organisation is doing in relation to promoting Mental Health in the Workplace. If you would like to discuss the results in more detail, or talk through how you can implement the mental health core standards framework, we would be happy to spend 30 minutes on the phone with you to help you to identify your priorities.
Get in touch today to book in your call: firstname.lastname@example.org
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