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300,000 lose their jobs each year due to mental illness

300,000 lose their jobs each year due to mental illness

Published by The Wessex FM News Team at 7:25am 27th October 2017. (Updated at 7:26am 27th October 2017)

Dorset Mind have now launched a new scheme for employers which they think will help.

Dorset Mind have been giving Wessex FM their views on a new report which claims up to 300,000 people with long-term mental health problems have to leave their jobs each year.

It also claims poor mental health costs the UK economy up to £99bn each year.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who commissioned the report, said it showed "we need to take action".

The UK civil service has agreed to take on the report's recommendations.

Mind's independent review into workplace mental health has published its document called Thriving at Work.

The review, led by former HBOS Chair Dennis Stevenson and Mind CEO Paul Farmer, looks at how employers can better support all employees.

Drawing on the accounts of over 200 employers of people with mental health problems and leading experts in mental health and work, Thriving at Work sets out core principles and standards that all employers should commit to.  It highlights examples of some employers who are taking positive and innovative steps to support the mental health of their employees.

The reviewers are calling on all employers, regardless of size or industry, to adopt six 'mental health core standards' that lay the basic foundations for an approach to workplace mental health. These cover mental health at work plans, mental health awareness for employees, line management responsibilities and routine monitoring of staff mental health and wellbeing. Large employers and the public sector are expected to go even further, demonstrating best practice through external reporting and designated leadership responsibility.

Dorset Mind's Board of Trustees have made plans to work with employers in Dorset to tackle the problem.

'Dorset Mind Works' is a comprehensive programme, based on the six principles of Thriving at Work that helps employers to create a mentally healthy workplace. It will guide companies through a process to create an environment where staff are as mentally healthy as they possibly can be and where talking about mental health is no longer a taboo.

'Dorset Mind Works' will:

-              Help organisations complete Mind's Workplace Wellbeing Index to help employers find out where they are doing well and where they could improve their approach to mental health in the workplace

-              Assist an organisation to normalise conversations about mental health at work.  A poster and social media campaign will support this. It will train managers how to talk to their teams about their mental health and encourage mental wellbeing to be an everyday topic of conversation

-              Provide the organisation with education programmes for staff so that everyone understands how to stay mentally healthy, how to spot signs and symptoms when mental health deteriorates and importantly, where to turn to for help

-              Support the employer to develop the right infrastructure to create a mentally healthy workplace; policies and procedures, wellbeing support programmes.

Dorset Mind will work with each organisation to develop a mutually beneficial partnership. 

The fee that Dorset Mind will charge for this will go towards providing support services in the community for people recovering from mental ill health.  This includes education and support programmes for young people as well as the staff and resources required to support the company itself.

Dorset Mind is seeking 3 Dorset-based companies to be part of the first pilot partners to benefit from 'Dorset Mind Works'. Companies interested can contact Dorset Mind at to request further information.

Dr Andy Mayers, Dorset Mind's Patron and Principal Academic at Bournemouth University comments, "The statistics in these two reports are frightening, but at Dorset Mind we've seen this coming which is why we've planned to offer a solution. This is a great opportunity for employers in Dorset to take advantage of a ready-made solution instead of reading these statistics and wondering what they can do about it. I urge anyone interested to get in touch with us to find out more."

Marianne Storey Dorset Mind's Chief Executive said, "This is simply a 'win-win' situation. Companies in Dorset can get the help they need to keep their staff mentally healthy and at the same time be doing their bit for local communities. We do have to charge employers to work with us to set up 'Dorset Mind Works' but by supporting us financially it means we can help more and more people in the community really struggling with mental health difficulties".

Ken Heap Dorset Mind's Chair of Trustees stated, "Once the Trustees knew that mental health problems were becoming a real issue in the workplace we knew we had to do something about it. We have some big employers in Dorset so we have a responsibility to work with them to educate them and their staff about what is good mental health and what to do when people are not mentally healthy. We think this is a very exciting opportunity for us to work in partnership with Dorset's companies"



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