Conditions such as anxiety and depression are experienced by one in six British workers at any one time. The competition, stress and long hours culture in the City leaves employees vulnerable, but fear of discrimination often prevents people accessing help and support early on.
CMHA has been set up in recognition of these shared concerns. The founding organisations are Aon, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Clifford Chance, Deloitte, Freshfields, Goldman Sachs, KPMG, Lend Lease, Linklaters, Lloyds Bank, Morgan Stanley, PwC, and Slaughter and May. The Alliance is supported by the Community Interest Company, Mental Health First Aid and Mind.
The Alliance will be launched at an event on 28 October at the law firm Linklaters. The keynote speaker is Sir Mike Rake, chairman of BT and president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The aims of the Alliance are to create a culture of openness about mental health issues, to support City organisations in implementing good practices to enhance mental health for all employees and to tackle the causes of, and support staff who are experiencing, mental health problems. CMHA will also sponsor research specific to the mental health of workers in environments such as the City.
Sir Mike Rake, chairman of BT and president of the CBI, said:
“It’s hugely encouraging to see businesses uniting to improve the way in which mental health is perceived in the City. The more we can get senior people in the business community talking about this important issue, the more we can create an environment where City businesses and professionals can talk openly and take positive and preventative actions to improve mental health. Better mental health is better for business. I’m delighted to be involved in launching the Alliance and would encourage other leaders to get involved.”
Pete Rodgers, chair of CMHA and Deputy General Counsel at KPMG International, said:
“Many enjoy the City culture and thrive on the competition and pressure that comes with it. Each year this pressure seems to be intensifying. So, more than ever, businesses and employees need to be able to foster good mental health to deal with these challenges, and to manage effectively situations where mental health problems arise. When things do get too much, the City can feel an unforgiving and unsupportive place. We want to change things by eliminating stigma as well as sharing insights and good practice to develop better mental health for everyone.”
Research by Mind found that 90 per cent of people taking time off due to stress said they cited a different reason to their employer for their absence. 92 per cent of people believe that admitting to having a mental health condition to their employer would damage their career.
Mind’s Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
“We commend the City businesses that have united to tackle the stigma that exists around mental health problems. It sends an important signal that mental health and wellbeing should be an organisational priority in every business. There are too many workers that feel their only option is to suffer in silence with mental health problems as they fear the consequences that they will be sidelined by their bosses or even sacked. Employers are starting to recognise that mental health problems are not a sign of weakness and that investing in the wellbeing of their staff is worthwhile.”
Professor Lord Patel of Bradford OBE, Patron of Mental Health First Aid England, said:
“One of our key pieces of advice is that employees who have been trained to spot the early symptoms of mental ill health will be better equipped to sign-post themselves or others to appropriate treatment, which can often then result in a quicker, more successful recovery and return to work. Organisations which provide such training are sending out a clear message that the mental and physical wellbeing of their staff is of equal importance and that the two often go hand-in-hand. Through the CMHA, we hope that every City employer will adopt a range of policies to support their staff’s mental wellbeing and which in turn will help lift the stigma which currently shrouds mental health in many organisations.”
According to research by the Centre for Mental Health, mental ill health costs UK employers an estimated £26 billion a year through sickness absence, reduced productivity at work and recruitment costs. Early intervention and support around mental health in the workplace has the potential to boost productivity and reduce considerably the overall economic burden to society.
Pete Rodgers said:
“The majority of people with mental health problems with the right support fully recover and get back to work. Early intervention makes a full recovery more likely. The CMHA aims to help employers foster a culture of openness and to help educate managers on how to foster good mental health, as well as identify risks and recognise the triggers and signs of mental health problems.”
For more information contact:
Head of Media
020 8522 1743
Head of Corporate Communications
020 7456 5230
About the City Mental Health Alliance
The City Mental Health Alliance is a coalition of organisations that have come together to improve mental health issues in the City of London. The focus of the Alliance is on the common stress related mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, while remaining inclusive of other conditions.
Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
Please note that Mind is not an acronym and should be set in title case.
Mind’s Infoline is on 0300 123 3393 and the Legal Line is on 0300 466 6463 (helplines open Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm). Website: www.mind.org.uk