Barclays, John Lewis and Royal Mail sign new mental health commitment

John Lewis

Utilities organisation Anglian Water, banking business Barclays, retailer John Lewis Partnership, postal service Royal Mail and financial services firm Virgin Money are among 30 employers that have signed the new Mental Health at Work Commitment.

Developed in conjunction with mental health charities, employers and trade organisations, the commitment aims to improve the standard of mental health care across the workforce at a national level.

The Mental Health at Work Commitment has been designed as a framework, outlining six standards that signatories must adhere to in order to make a difference to staff wellbeing and to create an environment where employees can thrive.

The standards include developing and delivering a systematic programme of activity, proactively ensuring that work design and organisational culture drive positive mental wellbeing, promoting an open culture, increasing organisational confidence and capability, providing mental health tools and support, and increasing transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting.

Signatories will be able to access associated resources, to help them get started, as well as to share experiences and signpost to further areas of support.

The commitment is based on industry best practice as well as results from the independent, government-commissioned report, Thriving at work, published two years ago.

Other organisations that have signed the Mental Health at Work Commitment this month (October 2019) are Deloitte, Lloyds Banking Group, National Grid, Proctor and Gamble, Santander UK, Unilever UK and Ireland.

Sir Ian Cheshire, chairman of the Thriving at Work Leadership Council and chairman at Barclays UK, said: “There are no quick fixes, or simple solutions when it comes to mental health. Yet there’s no ignoring the fact that work is often a contributory factor for people whose mental health is suffering.

“As employers, there are lots of things we can do that can make a difference to how our employees feel at work. The six standards we are setting out are based on, what best practice has shown, is needed to make a difference. If every employer in the country signed up, we could have a meaningful impact on millions of employees across the UK.”

Paul Farmer, chief executive officer at Mind and co-author of the Thriving at work review, added: “It’s great to see so many employers take proactive steps towards creating mentally healthy workplaces by engaging with the Mental Health at Work Commitment.

“With issues like stress, anxiety and depression common across all employers, regardless of size or sector, we want to see every employer recognise and address any work-related causes of poor mental health among their staff. The commitment comes with resources available to help employers prevent poor mental health and promote wellbeing.

“Smart, responsible employers recognise that staff who feel valued and supported tend to be more productive and are less likely to take time off sick or leave the organisation.”