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Autumn Budget 2018: British Safety Council response

Mental health

Government called on to provide greater support for improvement of workplace mental health

RESPONDING to the Budget announcement, the British Safety Council has welcomed the Government’s commitment of £2 billion annually to support NHS mental health services by 2023-24. At the same time, the charity and corporate membership organization has 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 well-being. 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 well-being 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 well-being and save a person’s life.

‘A line manager has a crucial role to play in helping people to open up 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 supporters of the Mates in Mind programme, which is now working with more than 170 organizations across the construction and construction-related industries, creating better awareness and challenging the stigma associated with poor mental health.

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 the overall well-being of their people, including promoting better mental health.’

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