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Mental health core standards recommended by new review


Employers have a huge positive role to play in improving the nations mental health and it also makes perfect business sense to keep our colleagues as mentally fit and productive as possible.  I particularly welcome the fact that the review suggests practical steps that large and small businesses can take to start moving forward on this vital topic.”
Sir Ian Cheshire, Heads Together

You may have heard during the past couple of days that the investigation requested by the Prime Minister at the start of this year into how employers can better support the mental health of those they employ is now complete and “Thriving at Work, the Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers” has been published.

The review concludes that workplace mental health should now be a priority for organisations in this country and sets out what employers can do to better support all employees.  It recommends that to help reduce the numbers of people citing mental health reasons for leaving their employment and to support those in the workplace, employers should all adopt “mental health core standards”.  These have been drawn from best practice and the authors believe can be implemented quickly by all organisations up and down the country:

  1. To produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan
  2. To develop mental health awareness amongst employees
  3. To encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling
  4. To provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development
  5. To promote effective people management through line managers and supervisors
  6. To routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing

These ‘core’ standards have been designed so that they can be adopted by all employers, irrespective of workplace type, industry or size.  The hope is that they can, therefore, be delivered proportionally and “ensure a ‘breadth’ of change across the UK workforce and lay the foundations for going further”.

Guidance, suggestions, and tools to help with implementing the standards have been provided in Annex A of the review. The authors go further and suggest an additional 4 ‘enhanced’ standards which large employers and the public sector can adopt.  They believe that 3 other factors, (namely increased employer transparency; the availability of digital tools and products; and help from trade unions, industry groups, professional and regulatory bodies), will help employers implement both the ‘core’ and the ‘enhanced’ standards.

Many other recommendations are made in the report, including suggested legislative change.  The authors also call for action and further progress to be made in other areas, outside their recommendations, in order for their ten-year vision to be achieved.  We are sure further updates will be provided as these are considered by Government and employers in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

In tandem with the review, you may like to read the analysis Deloitte has produced, broken down by industry, of the costs to employers of presenteeism, absenteeism and staff turnover due to mental health conditions.

2020 update – Deloitte published a report entitled Mental Health and Employers: Refreshing the case for Investment which builds on their 2017 research linked to above, to help with understanding mental health and wellbeing in today’s workforce.


You can view the Mental Health Awareness training courses we deliver here

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