Off message madness is not helpful

I totally disagree that there is no business case for anyone actively recruiting staff with enduring mental illnesses, as suggested by Tony Pettengell (Off Message, Personnel Today, 27 May).

I am head of HR for a large NHS trust that specialises in providing mental health services for adults and children, and also provides a service to people with learning disabilities. My organisation is forward thinking and intends to deliver excellent healthcare to its local population. We also intend to recruit as many people as possible with a mental health issue who meet the person specification for the job.

A manager has a duty of care to everyone in their team, regardless of whether they have a disability that is a mental illness or something else. The duty of care obviously applies to all employees and it is the role of all managers to ensure they watch for any signs of stress or other symptoms.

Bad things happen to good people. Any employee could face challenging periods in their lives, and employers must do all they can to support such issues.

Why would you ‘ignore’ 25% of the population in your recruitment drive as Pettengell suggests? Taking that attitude really would lead to the madness that he talks about.

Fran Hook

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