Let’s put our Heads Together to create mentally healthy workplaces

For the past few months, the CIPD has been actively supporting the Royal Foundation’s Heads Together campaign with mental health charity Mind to end stigma around mental health. The campaign ‘aims to change the national conversation on mental health and wellbeing, and is a partnership with inspiring charities with decades of experience in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health challenges.’ It’s spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

The CIPD’s involvement in the campaign is focussed on supporting its objectives to proactively manage mental health at work, and we serve on the Heads Together Workplace Wellbeing Programme Advisory Group. Its priorities include fostering partnership through providing the opportunity for further collaboration around this vital agenda, as well as enabling the working population to improve their knowledge and understanding of mental health.

As part of its workplace programme, the Heads Together campaign is running a survey to ensure that the broadest number of employers and organisations across a range of different sectors have the opportunity to shape the support on offer through the programme. It will take around 10 minutes to complete and responses will remain anonymous. The CIPD and the Heads Together campaign would be grateful for your input into how we take forward the workplace programme. Hopefully the survey will help the campaign to understand more about what employers are already doing, what barriers there are to supporting employees’ mental wellbeing, and what additional resources they would find valuable.

Mental health is one of the most important issues that employers need to address. It also goes to the heart of the CIPD’s purpose to improve work and working lives. The Samaritans say that, every six seconds, someone contacts the charity, and every 90 minutes someone takes their own life. In the UK, one in six adults met the criteria for a common mental disorder in 2014, according to the latest official data. This means that most of us will have either experienced depression ourselves or know someone who has – even if you are not aware of it. The CIPD’s 2016 Absence management survey, in partnership with Simplyhealth, found that two in five (41%) employers had identified an increase in reported mental health issues over the past few months. As many people with a mental health condition don’t feel confident enough to disclose it at work, the issue is likely to be even more significant than the statistics suggest.

Many organisations have been making good progress in supporting people’s health and well-being over the past few years, and there is much better recognition of the importance of mental health at work. However, other CIPD research published in 2016 shows there is some way to go before most organisations develop an effective framework to support people’s mental health at work.  The research is based on a survey over 2,000 employees to identify their experiences and attitudes about mental health in the workplace. In all, less than half of respondents (46%) report that their organisation supports employees who experience mental ill health very well or fairly well, while one in five (20%) say that their organisation supports such employees not very well or not at all. The research also shows that well under half (44%) of employees would feel confident disclosing unmanageable stress or a mental health issue to their current employer or manager.

If you do have a spare 10 minutes, please do take the time to complete this short, anonymous survey to help us inform the Heads Together workplace programme, so that the action we take on the Advisory Group is as relevant and as impactful as possible. 

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