The Where’s Your Head At? campaign launched a Workplace Manifesto on Monday. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, this campaign is raising awareness of how employers and businesses can better support their employees’ mental health and well-being. It is a straightforward manifesto which the campaign is calling all employers to sign. The principals, in brief, are:
1. Everyone has mental health
2. We need to build a diverse and inclusive workplace to lead to a
happier and healthier working environment
3. We need to treat mental and physical health equally in the workplace
4. Employers need to turn mental health awareness into positive action
Point number three is the renewed call for equality of mental and physical first aid under health and safety legislation – an initiative I led at Lib Dem party conference in Liverpool in 2015 and which was first presented to parliament as an Early Day Motion by Norman Lamb MP. It has been debated in Parliament, and pressure is on to change this legislation.
Point number four calls for six specific actions, that workplaces
i. Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan
ii. Develop mental health awareness among employees
iii. Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling
iv. Provide your employees with good working conditions
v. Promote effective people management
vi. Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.
Getting mental health support established in all workplaces would be a cultural shift with massive ramifications across society. Mental ill-health would be picked up much earlier, interventions could be put in place, long-term difficulties could be avoided, time off work reduced and productivity increased. It is a win-win for employer and employee.
Mental Health First Aid is encouraging all workplaces to have an #EmpowerHalfHour to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. There are five themes, with various activities within each. Have a look and see if you can fit one in at your workplace this week.
* Kirsten Johnson is the PPC for North Devon and Day Editor of Lib Dem Voice.