StandardsBusiness and charities collaborate on new framework for mental health in the workplace

UK businesses join forces with mental health charities and NGOs to promote a nationwide commitment on improving mental health care in the workplace.
Content Team4 weeks ago9 min

This week marks the launch of the Mental Health At Work Commitment. With thirty of the UK’s most recognised businesses and organisations* already signatories, the ambition of this initiative is to encourage employers of all sizes to join the movement and improve standards of mental health care among the workforce at a national scale.

Developed with the knowledge and expertise of mental health charities, leading employers and trade organisations, the Commitment provides a framework for employers who recognise the importance of promoting staff wellbeing.

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The framework sets out six clear standards** based on what best practice has shown is needed to make a difference and better equip employers to create an environment where employees can thrive. These standards build on those published in the independent Government-commissioned Thriving At Work review two years ago***.

Current business signatories span multiple sectors including banking, utilities, FMCG, retail and professional services. They are joined by trade bodies including CBI, IoD, and CIPD and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports.

The recent Mental Health at Work YouGov survey conducted for Business in the Community (BITC) and Mercer Marsh Benefits**** shows only one in two (51%) of respondents say they feel comfortable talking about mental health in the workplace, and two in five (39%) say they have experienced a work-related mental health issue in the last year.

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While many employers have been acknowledging and responding to growing demands, dedicating significant resource to tackling the issue, it was leading to a scattergun approach, with duplication and often confusion. The Commitment seeks to end that confusion promoting and sharing best practice that can be activated among employers at all levels.

One stop info resource

The Commitment is supported by a one stop shop for resources to help employers get started, share experiences and signpost further areas of support. The intent is to get as many employers as possible to sign up to achieve the ambitious vision set out in Thriving at Work: Employees in all types of employment have good work, which contributes positively to their mental health, our society and our economy.

Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman of the Thriving at Work Leadership Council and Chairman of Barclays UK, said “There are no quick fixes, or simple solutions when it comes to mental health. Yet there’s no ignoring the fact that work is often a contributory factor for people whose mental health is suffering. As employers, there are lots of things we can do that can make a difference to how our employees feel at work. If every employer in the country signed up, we could have a meaningful impact on millions of employees across the UK.”

Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind and co-author of the Thriving at Work review, said “With issues like stress, anxiety and depression common across all employers, regardless of size or sector, we want to see every employer recognise and address any work related causes of poor mental health among their staff. The Commitment comes with resources available to help employers prevent poor mental health and promote
wellbeing.”

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn DBE, CBI Director-General, said: “The Mental Health at Work Commitment matters because it supports business leaders to make mental health a boardroom priority. It is this leadership that will help tackle the taboo around mental health, encourage people to feel comfortable talking about their emotions and seek practical support if and when they need it.”

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Employers wanting to join the commitment can find out more at: www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/commitment

*The Businesses Signed at Launch (listed alphabetically): • Anglian Water • Barclays • Bupa UK • Business in the Community • CIPD • Confederation of British Industry • Deloitte • Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport • E.ON UK Classification: Public • Edelman UK • Historic England • Institute of Directors • John Lewis Partnership • Lloyds Banking Group • Mace • Matrix Chambers • Medivet • Mental Health Foundation • Mercer • Mind • National Grid • Nuffield Health • Procter & Gamble • Roots Human Resources Community Interest Company • Royal Mail • Santander UK • Society of Occupational Medicine • Thrive Bristol • Unilever UK & Ireland • Virgin Money

**The Mental Health At Work Commitment is made up of six standards, which draw on best practice from the Thriving at Work review, as well as other pledges and charters available. It brings everything together in one place. 1. Prioritise mental health in the workplace by developing and delivering a systematic programme of activity 2. Proactively ensure work design and organisational culture drive positive mental health outcomes 3. Promote an open culture around mental health 4. Increase organisational confidence and capability 5. Provide mental health tools and support 6. Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting 

***** Mental Health at Work YouGov survey conducted for Business in the Community (BITC), and Mercer Marsh Benefits. The findings are from a survey of 4,236 full and part-time employees in the UK that is representative of gender, age, industry sector, region and business size, excluding sole traders and those working alone. The survey explores mental health and wellbeing in the workplace with many questions tailored for managers and those who have a manager.

Content Team

Work in Mind is a content platform designed to give a voice to thinkers, businesses, journalists and regulatory bodies in the field of healthy buildings.

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