‘Quiet revolution’ happening in mental health

Teresa Jennings

A quiet revolution is rippling through the country, affecting how the UK is thinking and talking about mental health, Confed18 has heard.

In a main stage session on why mental health is everyone’s business, Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, spoke of the groundswell moving forward action on mental health – and the impact it is making.

He credited an increase in non-stigmatising media coverage, political backing and public support from the royal family as catalysts for change, adding that mental health is a “live issue in every single workplace.”

But he was clear that the NHS still has some way to go in supporting staff mental health.

With NHS staff having stressful roles, working alongside distress and death, he said the health service can put in place measures to reduce stress.

Fostering a health-creating society

Mr Farmer, who co-chaired a landmark review of mental health in the workplace, added that helping NHS staff to thrive at work is a “task worth undertaking.”

The view was shared by panel member Nigel Jones, chair of the City Mental Health Alliance, who spoke of the moral duty of employers to focus on wellness, adding that business leaders have a role to play in fostering a health-creating society.

In an insightful session, he provided a view into how the business community is tackling workplace mental health.

He concluded by speaking of the synergies between the challenges faced by the NHS and the City, of recruitment, culture, and a vision of a “healthier, happier more productive workforce.”

Providing insight into the work Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is doing to manage and support the psychological welfare of its staff, Teresa Jennings detailed the proactive approach the trusts is taking to managing stress.

This includes making available a range of information and activities for all staff, targeted support for staff who may be struggling, and a resilience training programme.

The session will be available to watch again on the Confed18 website.

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