Equality for Mental Health Needs Legal Force

by Mental Movement Magazine

Today is World Mental Health Day and MHFA England, Mind and Norman Lamb MP have joined forces to call on the government to act to bring parity to mental and physical first aid in the workplace and amend the Health and Safety legislation.

With mounting evidence demonstrating a dearth of mental health provision across the country, this World Mental Health Day (10th Oct) Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England and Norman Lamb MP are together calling on the government to bring parity to mental and physical health in the workplace in a global first. Currently one in three hundred people in England are trained Mental Health First Aiders. [1]

Recently released (4th Oct) findings from Business in the Community, in collaboration with MHFA England, Mind and others, show over three-quarters (77%) of employees have experienced poor mental health. The most comprehensive report of its kind, the Mental Health at Work report heard from over 20,000 employees. [2]

Employers are talking more about mental health but it’s not translating into action. 60% of board members believe their organisation supports people with mental ill health but, 49% of employees would not talk to their manager about a mental health issue. [2]

Key recommendations from the report direct employers to invest in first aid training in mental health to help tackle the issue. [2]This recommendation is echoed by large employers, including WHSmith and Unilever, who are supporting the call for Mental Health First Aid to be recognised and adopted by more employers in the same way as physical first aid.

The NHS Digital report on the prevalence of mental ill health in England revealed record numbers of adults in England experience mental health issues with around one in six adults (17%) living with a common mental disorder. [3]

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is ‘psychological and mental health first aid for all’ with the aim of making Mental Health First Aid a global priority on a par with physical first aid. MHFA England is leading on the goal of increasing the number of Mental Health First Aiders across the country.

Poppy Jaman, CEO and co-founder of Mental Health First Aid says:Our workplaces need to undergo a transformation. People are working increasing hours, with less resources, and under more pressure. Millions of employees feel unsupported and employers must act now to retain top talent and boost productivity.” She adds that, “Mental health issues (stress, depression or anxiety) account for almost 70 million days off sick per year, the most of any health condition.”[1]

Norman Lamb MP, a committed mental health campaigner and trained Mental Health First Aider, is tabling an Early Day Motion to coincide with World Mental Health Day on 10th October in the first step towards amending current health and safety legislation which requires employers to train staff in physical first aid, to in future include Mental Health First Aid.

#MentalMovement is 100% behind this campaign and will continue to push for this equality. To support this too please sign up to the Thunderclap on the issue on Twitter to get everyone talking about it! Share a tweet in support and get behind this, it’s time we moved forward with Mental Health!


To find out more about MHFA England visit www.mhfaengland.org



[1] 147,335 people have been trained in Mental Health First aid to date. http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/articles/overviewoftheukpopulation/february2016

[2] http://wellbeing.bitc.org.uk/all-resources/research-articles/mental-health-work-report-2016

[3] Davies SC. Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2013, Public Mental Health Priorities: Investing in the Evidence. Department of Health. 2014. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/413196/CMO_web_doc.pdf



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