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Business in the Community launches two mental health projects

Business in the Community has launched two mental health projects: The Mental Health Toolkit for employers with Public Health England and the National Employee Mental Wellbeing Survey.


The interactive resource for employers is being launch in parliament in collaboration with Public health England   


The company says The Mental Health Toolkit for Employers aims to help employers to take positive actions to build a culture that champions good mental health and provide a greater understanding for how to help those who need more support.


Justin Varney, national lead for adult health and wellbeing at Public Health England, said, “All employers have a responsibility to support the health and wellbeing of their staff. Staff who have positive mental health are more productive and businesses who look after the mental wellbeing of their employees can see a significant impact on business performance.


“This toolkit will help employers understand and act, step by step. It will help employers pick out the best free resources that are most useful to them, and help them develop an approach that fits the needs of their organisation.”


Peter Simpson, chief executive of Anglian Water Group, chair of Business in the Community’s Wellbeing Leadership Team, commented, “At Anglian Water we understand the positive benefits for both the employee and the business of creating a culture where we can openly discuss and manage mental wellbeing. For some time we have been raising awareness with our employees, providing resources and tools to demonstrate this culture and stimulate conversations, and have started to take the approach outside the company. The Mental Health Toolkit for Employers gives us the perfect opportunity to start a conversation with our supply chain and to further expand our approach to mental wellbeing in the workplace.”


Business in the Community states that mental ill health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK and is on the increase. 15.2m days of sickness absence in 2013 were caused by everyday conditions such as stress, anxiety or depression – a dramatic increase from 11.8m days in 2010. Business in the Community hopes the survey will transform how the UK approaches mental wellbeing at work. The online survey is completely confidential and will be conducted every year for the next three years by YouGov, and aims to be the largest ever survey of mental wellbeing at work.


Questions will focus on levels of employee mental wellbeing, awareness of mental wellbeing issues, and managers’ ability to support mental wellbeing. The survey will run for 11 weeks, kicking off during Mental Health Awareness Week (16th-22nd May 2016) and closing on 29th July. The findings will be launched one week before World Mental Health Day, on 4th October. 


The survey is being supported by Mind, CIPD, the Institute of Leadership and Management, The Work Foundation, Maudsley Learning at Work, and Mental Health First Aid, along with a number of leading businesses. Anglian Water Group and National Grid are also championing the survey with their workforces and networks and asking other businesses to do the same.


Louise Aston, wellbeing campaign director at Business in the Community, added, “The launch of the survey is another landmark moment in our work to tackle mental health in the workplace. It will raise public and employer awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing; including the crucial role of the line manager. It will identify how equipped line managers and employees are to spot the early warning signs of poor mental health, to have a conversation around mental health, and to signpost colleagues to appropriate support. It will also identify interventions that may be impacting on mental wellbeing, and over time will help us to track the shift in managers’ capabilities to understand and improve mental wellbeing.


“We are convening partners and business in a collaborative effort to provide a snapshot of employee mental wellbeing with the intention that we can all work collectively to improve mental wellbeing at work. We are asking businesses to promote the National Employee Mental Wellbeing Survey to their employees and wider networks so that, working together, we can reach as many employees as possible – asking them to share their experiences of mental health in the workplace.”   




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