Suffolk MP, Dr Dan Poulter, encourages local businesses to sign up to workplace mental health pledge

Suffolk MP, Dr Dan Poulter, is today calling on local businesses across Central Suffolk and North Ipswich to sign up to the "Where's Your Head At? Workplace Manifesto" this Mental Health Awarensss week.

As part of the manifesto, employers are encouraged to adopt the "core standards" for a mentally healthy workplace as set out in the Government's Thriving at Work report. The Manifesto has been endorsed by leading mental health organisations including Mind, Samaritans, the Mental Health Foundation, Rethink Mental Ilness, Young Minds and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, as well as organisations such as the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Institute of Directors (IoD).

A OnePoll survey of 2,000 employed adults reveals that on average, 42% of employees feel comfortable discussing prevalent physical consitions, compared to just 14% who feel they can talk about common mental health issues.

The research also shows the persisting mental health gap in the workplace, with first aid skills a clear indicator of this. Over 7 in 10 employees know basic first aid, such as how to bandage a finger or treat a minor burn. But just over a third (35%) feel confident talking to colleagues about common mental health struggles with stress and depression in the workplace – a basic part of mental health first aid training.

The findings illustrate that there must be a fundamental change to ensure we treat mental and physical health equally in the workplace. In response to this and to mark the "Where's Your Head At?" campaign's first birthday, its new Workplace Manifesto sets out a bold call for leaders to strive for an understanding and commitment to workplace wellbeing.

Speaking about the initiative, Dr Dan Poulter said "As a practising NHS mental health doctor, I see people with poor mental health on a regular basis and provide care for some of the most vulnerable people with severe and enduring mental ill health. For too long, poor mental health has been stigmatised and this simply must end."

"Part of ending the stigma around poor mental health will require employers to better support staff who run into difficulties and I shall be doing all that I can to encourage businesses in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich to make a clear commitment to their employees' mental health and wellbeing and to sign this workplace manifesto."

Read more about the "Where's Your Head At? Workplace Manifesto" here

Read more about the Government's "Thriving at Work" Report here