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The NHS cannot fix the UK’s mental health alone

Published by: Jamie True,

A £2 billion cash injection to the NHS to assist Mental Health Services will help support those who need it in times of crisis. But it also puts responsibility for providing support services for mental health squarely on the shoulders of the NHS, a service already stretched, under resourced and drained financially. Employers have a duty of care to support the total well-being of their people and this means providing access to tools that enable employees to proactively maintain their mental, physical, social and financial wellness.

Current services for mental health are still largely treatment-focused, which means it is only those who are aware and willing to ask for help that are receiving support.

Research from Mind has found that work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives with one in three people (34%) saying their work life was either very or quite stressful, more so than debt or financial problems (30%) or health (17%). This is a clear indication that some responsibility for the mental health of the workforce sits with the employer, and businesses not providing support for their workers should be held to account.

For many, poor mental health is the result of a combination of personal and work stresses. This could be financial worries, poor physical health or a lack of social interaction. Businesses can adopt solutions which can help support and ultimately prevent employees from developing mental health problems.

Thankfully, we have seen seismic shifts in attitudes towards mental health and how it is perceived in the workplace. The next step is for organisations to take responsibility for their employees’ total well-being by providing a comprehensive wellness program, which will support people as they navigate through the daily stresses they encounter. In the UK about 70 percent of calls to the LifeWorks EAP counselling service are related to mental health issues. Having this confidential service available through a mobile app at work takes away some of the barriers such as going to the Doctors and has helped those who may not have ever reached out for support otherwise. We’ve evolved our understanding and perception of mental health over the years, that much is certain. Now is the time to evolve the support system to meet demand.

Read more responses to the UK Autumn Budget on The HR Director

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