How we handle mental illness in the workplace came under severe criticism this week.
On Tuesday, chief medical officer professor Dame Sally Davies published her recommendations to improve public mental health in Annual report of the chief medical officer 2013: public mental health priorities.
I am not surprised at her criticism.
Currently, employers’ default position is to avoid any sign of a problem – both by those suffering mental illness and those managing them in the workplace.
It truly is a taboo subject.
Few people know what to do when a problem arises that cannot be avoided.
As I have found myself, even if you try to do the right thing as a manager, you can still come up against long NHS waiting lists for mental health treatment.
While it would be lovely if every organisation could intervene and fund ongoing treatment via employee assistance programmes, this is not always realistic.
The impact of mental illness in the workplace is a huge, hidden cost. So it is time to face it head on – as employers and as a nation.