The Labour party promises to overhaul the way mental health is managed. Here’s how

According to shadow health secretary Wes Streeting, there’s been an increase in mental ill health under the Tories and it is costing Britain £23 billion per year. 

He writes: “Stress, depression and anxiety account for 17 million lost workdays every year. There are now three million people out of work for long-term sickness, almost half of whom suffer with mental health problems. The cost in lost economic output, if nothing changes and the Conservatives are given another five years, will total £115 billion…Our sick society is holding back Britain’s economy.”

The Labour party says it will change the approach to mental health care if it wins on July 4. What does this mean for employers?

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Universities are entrusted with the care and education of their students, but recent events have sparked debates about what to do when the duty of care clashes with data protection. Viv Adams, ICO Parliament and Government Affairs team Principal Policy Adviser, said that under UK law, universities have the legal authority to share personal data in situations where there’s an urgent need to prevent harm: “University staff should do whatever is necessary and proportionate to protect someone’s life. Data protection law allows organisations to share personal data in an urgent or emergency situation, including to help them prevent loss of life or serious physical, emotional or mental harm.” This provision aims to enable institutions to intervene effectively in cases of potential loss of life or serious harm, whether physical, emotional, or mental.

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It’s crucial that businesses prioritise mental health as it affects employees’ wellbeing and productivity. Worryingly, the latest findings by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England found that a quarter of employees had not received a mental health check-in since the beginning of the pandemic, and 29% of those surveyed said they have never had a conversation with their line manager about mental health. We’ve put together this guide to help all employees, particularly people managers, support their colleague’s mental health.

Learning points:

  • Why businesses should prioritise mental wellbeing
  • Top tips to support your colleagues with their mental health
  • How wellbeing training can help leaders support their teams