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Businesses sign up to mental health at work commitment

Commitment aims to create an environment where employees can thrive

UK businesses have joined forces with mental health charities and non-governmental organisations to promote a nationwide commitment on improving mental health care in the workplace.
Thirty businesses and organisations have signed up to the Mental Health At Work Commitment and the ambition is to encourage employers of all sizes to join the movement and improve standards of mental health care among the workforce.

The framework sets out six standards based on what best practice has shown is needed to make a difference and better equip employers to create an environment where employees can thrive.

These standards build on those published in the independent government-commissioned Thriving At Work review two years ago.
Current business signatories span multiple sectors including banking, utilities, FMCG, retail and professional services. They are joined by trade bodies including the CBI, IoD and CIPD and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports.

The recent Mental Health at Work YouGov survey conducted for Business in the Community (BITC) and Mercer Marsh Benefits shows only one in two (51%) respondents feel comfortable talking about mental health in the workplace, and two in five (39%) have experienced a work-related mental health issue in the last year.

Although many employers have been acknowledging and responding to growing demands, dedicating significant resource to tackling the issue, it was leading to a scattergun approach, with duplication and often confusion, according to the charity Mind.

The commitment is supported by a one-stop-shop for resources to help employers get started, share experiences and signpost further areas of support.

Sir Ian Cheshire, chairman of the Thriving at Work Leadership Council and chairman of Barclays UK, said work is often a contributory factor for people whose mental health is suffering.

He claimed that if every employer in the country signed up to the commitment it could lead to a meaningful impact on millions of employees across the UK. Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind and co-author of the Thriving at Work review, said: “With issues like stress, anxiety and depression common across all employers, regardless of size or sector, we want to see every employer recognise and address any work-related causes of poor mental health among their staff.”