Safer Highways | Keynote speakers views ahead of the Thriving at Work Report launch
Ahead of next week’s Thriving at Work Report launch their keynote speaker, Paul Farmer, CEO of Mental Health Charity, Mind, gives his views on their work.
The publication of this report is very timely. It has been two years since the Thriving at Work review, an independent review of mental health and employment, commissioned by Government and led by Lord Dennis Stevenson and myself. As they mark this milestone, it’s a good opportunity to remind ourselves of the vision that was set out:
In ten years’ time employees will have “good work”, which contributes positively to their mental health, our society, and our economy. To support this, all organisations, whatever their size, will be equipped with the awareness and tools to address and prevent mental ill-health caused or worsened by work. They will be equipped to support individuals with a mental health condition to thrive and the proportion of people with a long-term mental health condition, who leave employment each year, will be dramatically reduced.
When setting out this vision we realised the scale of the task ahead. But with the annual cost to employers of poor mental health being between £33billion and £44billion, and more crucially 300,000 people with a long-term mental health problem losing their jobs each year, we knew it was an issue that could no longer be ignored.
Over the past two years we have seen an increasing number of organisations start to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of their staff whether this is signing up to the Time to Change Employers Pledge to encourage open conversations about mental health, equipping line managers with the necessary skills and confidence to support staff and routinely monitor the mental health of staff. All of these steps are helping employers meet the mental health standards that were set out in the Thriving at Work review.
Despite this progress, the reality for many employees is that there is still much work to be done. Recent results from our Workplace Wellbeing Index showed that only 52 per cent of respondents who had experienced poor mental health felt comfortable disclosing this to their employer. The results also showed that on average work problems made up 50 per cent of the cause for poor mental health among respondents. However, for respondents with an unmanageable workload work problems were cited as 70 per cent of the cause.
Therefore, I am extremely pleased to see the positive steps being taken by the Safer Highways collaboration and believe many other sectors and industries could learn from the approach being adopted. This report shines a spotlight on the excellent work being delivered by some of the largest organisations across the sector and it shows an ongoing commitment to continue taking a sector-wide approach to making the mental health of employees a priority. This collective commitment from Safer Highways is what I believe will be key to their success.
Now is the time to harness the awareness raised throughout 2019, and continue to drive change across the sector to ensure that all employees are provided with a workplace in which they can thrive.
For more information about Safer Highways please visit: www.saferhighways.co.uk