Prime Minister unveils plans to transform mental health support
So ran the headline to the Government’s press release on support for mental health this week.
Theresa May’s speech on mental health, on Monday 9th January, set out action to tackle the “stigma” around mental health problems and pledged new initiatives for schools and employers to provide mental health support, as well as plans for new alternatives to hospital treatment.
The Prime Minister said that mental health is one of the areas in which “the power of government” can be used to better people’s lives adding that problems with mental health services are “more about the stigma that still attaches to mental health” than money issues.
Every secondary school in the country will be offered mental health first aid training and new trials to strengthen the link between NHS staff and the educational institutions.
Mind (as described in Louise Rubin’s blog) have responded to the speech and to the Government response to the Five Year Forward View on Mental Health which accepted all 58 recommendations. Louise brings the issues alive when outlining Mind’s campaign plans for 2017.
In the workplace, there’s to be a new partnership with employers to improve mental health support at work. The Prime Minister has appointed Lord Dennis Stevenson, the long-time campaigner for greater understanding and treatment of mental illness, and Paul Farmer CBE, CEO of Mind and Chair of the NHS Mental Health Taskforce, to drive work with business and the public sector to support mental health in the workplace.
These experts 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. This will involve 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. It will review recommendations around discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of mental health.
These developments are like a breath of fresh air and will further strengthen and magnify the achievements of the anti-stigma campaign, Time to Change.
And I would like to be a part of this, so much so that I’ve written to Mind and HSE to ‘volunteer’, and offer to help in any way, such as sharing insights through my personal story at conferences, seminars and workshops.
I’m also heartened to see outcomes of a roundtable on the Government’s Green Paper on employment and health outcomes reported by BDF and I aspire to continue to be included in the work of bdi with Chief Executives and mental health.
I have a first dry run of my presentation on Wellbeing on Monday at which I may open up on my experience of mental ill-health and take my books with me to work, after all mental health is very closely allied to Wellbeing…Because mental health is core to Wellbeing- our sense of who we are and where we are in our place in the world, our being, our balance, our creativity…
And I think of Mum, pinning
wet watercolour paper to a board
so that when it dries
it stretches flat, ready
for a wash of pigment,
as an old building takes shape
in a landscape of green –
grasses, bushes, trees,
and the contours
of a never ending sky…