Mental health in the workplace: it’s time to take action

Today’s guest blog is from the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Asher Craig, who is responsible for communities, equalities and public health.

Talking about mental health was once completely taboo. Thanks to the work of a lot of people over the past few years, that’s beginning to change. But there is still more to be done.  

Mental wellbeing is a key focus for the One City approach; the overarching goal for wellbeing in the One City Plan is that by 2050 everyone in Bristol will have the opportunity to live a life in which they are mentally and physically healthy. For this to happen, we need a city-wide effort made up of individuals, organisations and sectors across Bristol joining forces to help everyone have good mental health. That’s why I was delighted to join employers from Bristol’s businesses, public and voluntary sector at this week’s Thriving at Work conference.

Thriving at Work is part of a ten year programme, Thrive Bristol, developed to improve everyone’s mental health and wellbeing, as well as interventions for people experiencing mental illness. The key focus for today’s event was sharing the next phase of the Thriving at Work Bristol programme where local organisations, including Bristol City Council, will be putting in place new support to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their employees.

We will be testing what works, learning together and then looking to scale up the interventions which have the best results across the city and region. We think this is a first nationally, and we are delighted that partners have been so keen to get involved. Deloitte, Hargreaves Lansdown and OVO Energy are chairing the programme which will offer more support for local companies to make improvements in their workplaces. This in turn could have a meaningful impact on the wellbeing of thousands of employees across our city.

The event also saw the launch of our Thriving at Work Bristol report – the product of over a year’s collaboration from 25 local organisations. In the report, they shared what they have learned about the best practice in place locally, as well as the challenges these organisations have encountered when trying to improve employee mental health and wellbeing.

And I’m thrilled that Bristol is the first city to make the Mental Health at Work Commitment. It is linked with the national Thriving at Work Leadership Council, the Department of Work and Pensions, the Department of Health and Social Care, and mental health charity Mind. This commitment provides a simple framework with six standards businesses and organisations can follow to help employees thrive at work. Locally, a range of employers are making the commitment – from large companies like Burges Salmon to smaller organisations like Windmill Hill City Farm. And we are inviting every employer in Bristol to get involved and make the pledge.

For more information about Thrive Bristol and to read the Thriving at Work Bristol report visit: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/mayor/thrive-bristol

The Thriving at Work Bristol initiative focuses on improving mental health and wellbeing across our workplaces. It builds upon the independent review of mental health and employers that was published by Mind CEO Paul Farmer and Lord Stevenson[1] in 2017, and seeks to implement the six mental health core standards set out in their report across local workplaces.

For information on the Mental Health at Work Commitment and to join, visit: www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/committment


[1] Stevenson D, Farmer P (2017), Thriving at Work The Stevenson /Farmer review of mental health and employers. Available at: http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/thriving-at-work-a-review-of-mental-health-and-employers

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