Mental Health Foundation backs renewed focus on thriving workplaces

26 October 2017

Today, the Stevenson-Farmer report on thriving at work, commissioned by the Prime Minster, has been published. The Mental Health Foundation fully endorses the report.

It creates an opportunity for government, employers and the mental health sector to unite behind a series of recommendations that if implemented would play a significant role in addressing the nation’s mental health challenge.

Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said:

"For many of us, work is a major part of our lives. It is where we spend much of our time, where we get our income and often where we make our friends. Having a fulfilling job can be good for your mental health and general wellbeing. However, a toxic work environment can be corrosive to our mental health.

"We need to stop seeing mental health purely as a problem, rather than an asset that everyone has and which needs to be protected and improved. Our own research found that people living with mental health problems at work contribute £226 billion per year to the economy – 12.1% of UK GDP. As we address mental health at work for those with existing issues, for those at risk, and for the workforce as a whole, the costs of mental ill-health need to be balanced against this value added."

Chris O’Sullivan, Head of Workplace Mental Health at the Mental Health Foundation said:

"The report provides a detailed roadmap for employers and policy makers that places mental health at work firmly at the heart of the nations’ economic sustainability. This in itself will be a driver for change, but at heart we mustn’t forget that there is a moral imperative to support good mental health in the workplace and for ensuring that help is available when needed.

"Over the past few years we have been advocating for a cultural change to shift the responsibility and support to improve mental health into those places where people live their lives and to act as early as possible. The Foundation specifically welcomes the recommendations to examine the role digital technology can play in promoting good mental health, the focus on prevention more broadly and the emphasis on creating environments in which people feel safe to disclose distress – and the role that effective line manager training plays in that.

"Ultimately, we must be guided by what works – interventions and polices must be guided by evidence. The scale of the challenge necessities action, but this action must inform and be informed by robust research. Therefore it is particularly pleasing to see the recommendation for a 10-year research strategy. We look forward to working with employers and the sector as a whole to bring forward much needed change."

For a spokesperson and/or case study on good mental health in the workplace call Cal Strode on 020 7803 1110 or email press@mentalhealth.org.uk