A Qualified Welcome to Government Plans for Mental Health Investment

The BHWA welcomes the recent government commitment to almost £1 billion worth of investment aimed at enhancing UK mental health services, after a series of recommendations were made in a February report from the independent Mental Health Taskforce to the NHS in England, but cautions that it more still needs to be done. Whilst a wholly welcome step, the challenges surrounding the current imbalance between approaches towards physical health and mental wellbeing remain, and these diffuclties are compounded by plans entrenched in reactive strategy rather than proactive prevention.

The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health report assessed the current state of mental health and care provision in Britain and painted a positive picture about the transformation of public attitudes towards mental health.

However, it also described how decades of underfunding had left UK mental health services in a parlous state and impacted negatively on hundreds of thousands of lives. The report suggested it was high time we harnessed the widespread consensus, across both society and in the corridors of power, that there needs to be a shift towards prevention and a redoubling of our efforts to improve mental health and wellbeing.

While the additional funding aims to improve services in hospitals and in the community, the government also said a new workplace standard should be introduced, giving employees access to talking therapies and encouraging greater openness and the further removal of the stigma that can be attached to those suffering mental health issues. The announcement proposed further measures, including Individual Placements, Support Programmes and the presence of mental health experts in job centres.

We spoke to BHWA Founder member Libby Morley from Mindshift, who works frontline as an accredited mental health first aid trainer, about the government proposals and she told us, “All of the (measures) are necessary but are more ‘reactive’ responses. Companies need to be proactive and explore ways of supporting employees’ mental fitness before crisis points are hit.”

“It's a costly mistake to only focus on mental health without considering factors that affect mental wellbeing in the first place. The biggest obstacle to supporting employees lies in the culture and attitudes of an organisation. Getting a good quality conversation started, in a non-judgmental space where employees can be confident that they won't be treated any differently than if they were speaking about a physical issue, is crucial.”

Extending a similar argument, Sven Law of CBT Clinics Ltd and also a BHWA Founder added that, “While the government is right to put mental health firmly in the spotlight and strives to put it on the same footing as physical ill health, for all that we talk about the overlaps between physiological and psychological wellbeing, we still treat the two separately. This is especially true in the workplace.”

“Mental Health is quickly becoming a key focus of senior managers interested in maintaining workplace wellbeing and increasing productivity, but common mental health problems such as depression, stress and anxiety still remain one of the biggest causes of long-term absence in the UK.”

“With access to support often hampered by fear, stigma and a lack of innovative solutions to meet the competing demands of busy work and home lives, a significant paradigm shift needs to take place in workplaces to embed mental wellbeing in an overall culture of holistic wellbeing at work.”

While we see the proposals as a welcome step in the right direction, at the BHWA we believe there is still a great deal to be done to redress the current imbalance between approaches towards physical health on the one hand and mental wellbeing on the other.

Nonetheless, this is progress, if not a panacea.

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BHWA Testimonials

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Game Changer

The Alliance has huge potential to simplify Occupational Health for employers and providers alike. Therapy Direct Healthcare now has a greater opportunity to help with physiotherapy and MSK services throughout the OH Arena.  We think the BHWA can be a game changer in our industry.

Ross Tomkins, Clinical Director, Therapy Direct Healthcare
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This has got to be good news

We’re really pleased to be part of this important new initiative. The health of workforce has never been more important than now and so an initiative which helps make health and wellbeing services more accessible has got to be good news. We look forward to working with BHWA and promoting these important services to employers.

Paul Guy, PayPlan
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Forward Thinking

As the CEO of Medigold Health, I am delighted we are Founding Members of BHWA. I believe a forward-thinking initiative like this is long overdue in the health and wellbeing at work sector, which is sometimes guilty of being too inert.

As pioneers in occupational health, we are excited to be part of an alliance which is at the forefront of championing and developing our industry via the specialists, organisations and individuals that work within it.

I am personally a firm believer in collaboration being the key to success ultimately, people learn from people.  This principle underpins many of the features of BHWA’s offering and this shared ethos is what first attracted us to contributing.

Alex Goldsmith, CEO, Medigold Health
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Perfect Vehicle to Help

We're excited to work with BHWA as we believe that more can be done by employers to engage with their staff and promote wellness at work. 

BHWA is the perfect vehicle to help and encourage employers to introduce health and fitness initiatives to help reduce absence and ultimately increase productivity

Paul Healey, Managing Director
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Worth making time for

This initiative is worth making time for. It will encompass a superb blend of specialists, underpinning every essential to modern and progressive workplace health. As working environments now demand so much more from us all, it’s excellent to have effective solutions made readily available, providing Employers with access to so many ideas to help them thrive and stay competitive.

We’re happy to share our expertise and proud to be Founders. I’m looking forward to being part of an enjoyable community and building many strong and lasting working partnerships.

Mark Braithwaite, Managing director, Gipping Occupational Health
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Proud to be a founding member!

We must always work hard to understand the changes our clients are going through and the challenges they face. BHWA will link employers with providers to support that journey. We’re proud to be a founding member of the Alliance, which will bring together the many different disciplines involved in OH and wellbeing, promote OH to both small and large employers and help us bring more innovation to the field.

Eamonn Swanton, Chief Executive, Heales Medical
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Enhancing awareness of workplace health

The BHWA is a great initiative. We look forward to working with fellow experts and organisations to enhance the awareness of workplace ergonomics and its ability to significantly improve the performance and health of businesses and their staff

Clyde Crawford, Director, Ergability
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Essential practical resources that support customers and experts alike

We're proud to support the BHWA's mission to provide essential practical resources that support customers and experts alike. By pioneering this venture, which is the broadest if its kind to date, the resulting sharing of information and opportunities to network will open up a new world of communication which is vehemently needed - in a space which we might not otherwise have.

Maygen Carruthers, Medgate UK – Founder member
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Exciting Initiative

As soon as we knew of this exciting initiative, we wanted to get involved.  There is a growing understanding that cognitive health determines what work we can do and for how long. Sharing our expertise and knowledge through the BHWA platform is a great way to help everyone make informed decisions.

John Picken, MD Cantab Corporate Health – Founder Member
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A ‘Must’ in today’s fast pace working environment

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Expert collaboration is only going to improve quality and service delivery, so having all this knowledge in one place just makes access to advice simple.

Neil Hill, MD, Caer Health Services