Louise Aston: Mental health must be taken seriously

We are working in really tough times, which look set to continue. Across the UK, people are putting in longer hours, are more stressed and feel anxious about the future. Indeed, with one in four people experiencing a mental health problem within their lifetime, it is now more important than ever to address the issue of mental health in the workplace.

So the approval of the Mental Health Discrimination Bill on 11 February by the House of Lords, which includes overturning a law that MPs lose their seats if sectioned under the Mental Health Act for more than six months, alongside news that the government is setting up a mental health clinic for MPs, are progressive and welcome moves.

However, it’s important that all organisations start to address this issue. Employers must normalise mental health in the workplace and treat it with the same importance as physical health to prevent the onset of common problems such as stress, depression and anxiety, which can often lead to more serious health complications and long-term sickness.

Organisations should take steps towards developing a holistic, preventative approach to employee wellbeing.

Our Workwell model provides this balanced approach, demonstrating the benefits of taking a proactive and early intervention approach to employee wellness. The emphasis is on prevention right from the start, enabling a resilient workforce and keeping the well, well.

Louise Aston is director of Workwell at Business in the Community


Louise Aston will be speaking on health and wellbeing at Employee Benefits Connect on 1 March 2013 in London. See full details and book your place.