Responding to the Budget announcement, the British Safety Council welcomed the Government’s commitment of £2bn annually to support NHS mental health services by 2023-24.
At the same time, the charity and corporate membership organisation that for over 60 years has been campaigning to protect workers, improve workplace conditions and practices, called on the Government for even greater support for the improvement of workplace mental health.
Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the British Safety Council, said: “A workplace plays a key role in an individual’s mental wellbeing. This is where we spend most of our waking hours and where we interact with colleagues who get to know us well. It is also where the first conversations about our wellbeing should take place and where early and proactive interventions should be carried out.
“Mental health education should be available to every employee, regardless of the size of the company they work for. The confidence to talk about their mental health can improve an individual’s wellbeing and save a person’s life. A line manager has a crucial role to play in helping people to open about their condition, supporting and advising them on where to seek further help. However, once line managers have been trained to provide mental health support, the employer should help them to maintain this ability.
“The new Government investment in NHS mental health services is very welcome. It will allow people with mental ill-health issues to return to and stay in work, boosting employment and productivity in Britain. However, it is worth remembering that there is still no support for SMEs to put training and support in place to help those who experience mental ill-health before they reach a crisis point.”
The British Safety Council is one of the founding partners and a proud supporter of the Mates in Mind programme. Mates in Mind is now working with more than 170 organisations across the construction and construction-related industries, creating better awareness and challenging the stigma associated with poor mental health. This message is now reaching more than 150,000 workers.
Joscelyne Shaw, Executive Director of Mates in Mind said: “We welcome the Government’s ongoing investment in supporting mental health. However, mental health is not just about addressing mental ill-health. There is a clear need to build better awareness and understanding of this.
“Increasingly, employers are accepting that there is the moral, as well as the business case for investing in more tailored provisions to improve overall wellbeing of their people, including promoting better mental health.”