23rd March 2017
By Andrew Knorpel, Partner, Head of Employment.
Mental health was very much a hidden condition, with few people admitting that they suffer from it and resources for treating it being limited. Over the last few years, not only has discussion been far more open, but the Government has brought mental health towards the top of its agenda in November 2016 within its “Improving Lives” Green Paper aiming to put mental and physical health on an equal footing. In January 2017, the Prime Minister also announced a review into managing mental health issues in the workplace, co-chaired by the CEO of MIND.
The outcome of a survey last year by Business in the Community was published in their Mental Health at Work Report 2016. Some headlines included:
As discussed at our Cobham seminar earlier this week (which we will be repeating in Croydon in May 2017), employers need to “get talking about mental health” and this was the slogan for Time to Talk Day on 2 February 2017. Employers need to understand mental health issues in the first place, before they can support their staff, adopt the appropriate procedures, communicate effectively and prevent problems arising.
As part of offering support, employers may wish to train their line managers in mental health and MHFA England teaches people how to identify, understand and help a person who may be developing a mental health issue.
Of course, having an understanding of mental health also helps to ensure that you stay on the right side of the legal line when it comes to disability discrimination where ignorance of a mental health condition will not necessarily be a legitimate excuse.
The contents of this update are intended as guidance for readers. It can be no substitute for specific advice. Consequently we cannot accept responsibility for this information, errors or matters affected by subsequent changes in the law, or the content of any website referred to in this update. © Mundays LLP 2017.
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