11 January 2017

In her first major policy speech of the year, Prime Minister Theresa May has promised a comprehensive package of measures to transform mental health support in the UK's schools, workplaces and communities.

Describing a hidden injustice, shrouded in a completely unacceptable stigma, she said that she planned to make mental health "an everyday concern for every bit of the system".

This includes a new partnership with employers to improve mental health support in the workplace.

In this context, the Prime Minister has appointed Lord Dennis Stevenson, the long-time campaigner for greater understanding and treatment of mental illness, and Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind and Chairman of the NHS Mental Health Taskforce, to drive forward work with business and the public sector.

They will lead a review on how best to ensure employees with mental health problems are enabled to thrive in the workplace and perform at their best.

Mrs May promised practical help including promoting best practice and learning from trailblazer employers, as well as offering tools to organisations, whatever size they are, to assist with employee well-being and mental health.

The Government will at the same time be reviewing recommendations around discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of mental health.

Welcoming her remarks, the Institute of Directors (IoD) agreed that employers have a real role to play ensuring the health, physical and mental, of their workforce.

Director General Simon Walker warned, however, that this can be a difficult issue for small and medium-sized firms to manage and said that they would be looking for practical measures to help employers and staff to tackle this important challenge.