A campaign calling for a change in the law to give mental health equal importance to physical health in the workplace has been backed by prominent business leaders including: Andy Barrett, Chairman & Managing Director, Ford of Britain; Stephen Clarke, Chief Executive, WH Smith, John Kirkland, Chairman, Bowmer & Kirkland and David Hynam, CEO of BUPA. In addition, The Centre of Mental Health and The Samaritians have backed it as a public petition in support tops over 188K signatures.
Mental ill-health is costing the economy a staggering estimated £99 billion each year  and 12.5 million working days are lost to work-related stress, depression or anxiety. Last week saw Prince William launch a new Heads Together project focused on improving workplace wellbeing; the CBI has called for workplaces and employers to place mental health and wellbeing front of mind.
Paul Keenan, CEO Bauer Media UK, “The support from the public and business leaders for this law change means this can no longer be ignored. We are seeking a seismic change in how mental health is viewed in the UK and urge other business leaders who agree this law change would benefit their business and their people to stand with us.“
“We’re delighted by the level of public support drawn by the ‘Where’s Your Head At?’ campaign,” said Andy Barratt, Chairman and Managing Director, Ford of Britain. “I would echo Paul’s thoughts in calling for more business leaders to show their commitment to ensuring all UK workers have access to mental health support in the workplace.”
Natasha Devon MBE, writer and campaigner, added, “Since sharing my story, I’ve been inundated with messages from the public telling me their own experiences involving mental health difficulties being treated as a character flaw or lack of professionalism at work. These are bright, hardworking people who would be an asset to any work place, but they are often currently unemployed because of how they were treated. Attitudes and culture desperately need to change so that people can be properly supported. Having mental health first aiders in every work place will, I believe, be an integral part of this.“
Representatives from Bauer Media and Mental Health First Aid England along with Natasha Devon MBE will deliver the petition to Downing Street on 8th October alongside Luciana Berger MP who will present the petition to Parliament.
The Where’s Your Head at? campaign conducted a survey into the state of the UK’s mental health and uncovered:
- 86% of the men and women who responded agreed that mental health is one of the biggest challenges facing the country today and over a third (33%) of those people said they are more stressed now than they were a couple of years ago;
- 90% of the public say they still feel there is a taboo around discussing mental health;
- Over half (56%) of respondents said that if they had to take time off work due to stress/anxiety then they would tell their boss the truth, but this was lower for those living in London.
To sign the peition calling for this change to the law go to http://www.wheresyourheadat.org
Notes to Editors:
Where’s Your Head At? Is a joint collaboration between Bauer Media, Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA England) and Natasha Devon MBE.Survey results are based on a sample size of 1,565 people, 622 (40%) and 942 (60%) female. All respondents consume at least one of Bauer Media’s brands.Each of the brands taking part in this campaign has created content specific to their audience, including interviews with celebrities who have suffered mental health issues published online.Natasha Devon's book A Beginner's Guide to Being Mental: An A-Z from Anxiety to Zero F**ks Given is published by Bluebird Books on Thursday 17th May.
About Bauer Media UK:
Bauer Media UK reaches over 25 million UK consumers through a portfolio of world-class, multi-platform media and entertainment brands including heat, KISS, Grazia, Empire, Magic, Absolute Radio and the Hits Radio Network. These brands offer commercial partners access to highly engaged audiences, with creative solutions underpinned by insight and instinct. Bauer Media UK is part of the Bauer Media Group, one of the world’s largest privately owned media businesses with media assets all over the globe.
About Mental Health First Aid England
Mental Health First Aid England is a community interest company (CIC). The organisation has a clear vision to normalise society’s attitudes and behaviours around mental health. It aims to do this by training one in ten of the English population in Mental Health First Aid skills.
For Further information:
Cat Martin - Communications Director, Bauer Media
0207 432 3317/07932 746363