Give mental health the same status as physical health

Some of Britain’s biggest employers are pressing the government to honour a promise to give mental health the same status as physical health at work.

That would mean employers would have to provide appropriate training for staff to deal with mental ill-health.

Poor mental health affects half of all employees, according to a survey of 44,000 people carried out by the mental health charity Mind.

The HSE recently released their annual report that showed 15.4 million working days are lost due to mental ill health and nearly 600,000 workers are suffering from work-related stress, anxiety and depression.

Only half of those who had experienced problems with stress, anxiety or low mood had talked to their employer about it. Fear, shame and job insecurity are some of the reasons people may choose to hide their worries.

A government-commissioned review put the cost of those conditions, such as depression, anxiety or stress, to the economy at between £74bn and £99bn a year.

At the last general election, the Conservatives said they would amend health and safety rules so employers would have to treat mental health the same way they treat physical health.

Some 50 executives, including Lord Sugar and bosses from Thames Water and Ford of Britain, have written to Theresa May, asking her to prioritise this particular pledge.

The companies behind the letter argue the promised change in the law would help break the stigma of mental illness at work.

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