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Employers must transform attitudes to mental health

Adrian Lewis

The Prime Minister announced a raft of measures in a bid to transform attitudes to mental health at a speech delivered to the Charity Commission yesterday. May has made a number of pledges in a bid to improve mental health support at schools and in the workplace. Comment from Adrian Lewis of Activ Absence.

In terms of the workplace, she emphasised that mental wellbeing improves motivation, reduces absence and drives better productivity. She has pledged to appoint mental health campaigner Lord Stevenson and Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, to carry out a review on improving support in the workplace and create a partnership with leading employers and industry. In response to the Prime Minister’s speech, workplace absence management expert Adrian Lewis of Activ Absence said that workplaces needed to adopt better absence management practices in order to encourage openness:

“In our experience, people aren’t honest about mental health absences – they don’t want to be stigmatised.  Line managers need training to identify the signs early on. Workplaces need consistent, robust absence management systems, with tools to monitor and measure absence properly, supported by effective HR practices, such as gentle, non-judgemental return to work interviews.  This helps to identify individuals with mental health challenges at a very early stage and enables early support.  Professionals agree that early support is key to obtaining a successful outcome for both employer and employee. With one in four suffering from a mental health issue, there shouldn’t be a stigma attached to a diagnosis, only support and raised awareness – hopefully the new reforms will create a ‘culture of caring’ rather than judgement at work.”

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