Mind out for mental health

A campaign to raise awareness of mental health problems aims to help stop
discrimination

The Government has launched a campaign to raise awareness among employers of
discrimination against workers with mental health problems.

The Department of Health’s Mind Out For Mental Health campaign is
accompanied by a document called Working Minds. The research, carried out by
the Industrial Society, is designed to show how people with mental health
problems face discrimination in the workplace and what employers can do to
tackle it.

Key findings include the fact that while some employers attempt to address
issues surrounding mental health problems for their staff, many more do not.
Discrimination appears to be widespread.

The issue is not just centred around recruitment of staff, but also hostile
behaviour towards those with mental health problems. Awareness of mental health
issues, appropriate language, symptoms and treatment is "disturbingly
low" among employers and employees, it found.

There is also an absence of expert information, advice and help, and
employers and managers often lack the confidence to take action.

The report recommends that employers need a specific mental health policy or
to review their existing policies to integrate mental health better. More
training is needed on the awareness and understanding of discrimination about
mental health.

There should also be better access to expert help, advice, information and
support, with Government, employers and unions needing to join forces.

"There is a serious absence of expert information, advice or help for
employers and employees trying to address mental health problems at work,"
it argues.

There should also be a review of GPs and the role of other specialist
services in how they can support individuals and organisations, it recommends.

A national standard framework for employers should be established and the
Government should undertake more research into work opportunities,the report
concludes.

The report’s findings back previous research undertaken by mental health
charity Mind which showed that 69 per cent of people with mental health
problems had been put off applying for jobs for fear of unfair treatment.

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