The South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust has become the first employer in the Wakefield area to sign up to a new charter that aims to increase awareness of mental health in the workplace.
The Mindful Employer Charter encourages employers to become positive about mental health and provide support to staff who have, or may develop, mental health problems at work.
Statistics show that people with mental health problems often face barriers when trying to get or hold down a job. For example: • Less than a quarter of adults with long-term mental health problems are in employment – national and local research shows many more would like to be • The number of people claiming incapacity benefit for mental health reasons has almost doubled since 1995 • More people with mental health problems claim incapacity benefit than claim job-seeker’s allowance • Fewer than four in ten employers say they would recruit someone with a mental health problem. (Source: Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Social Exclusion Unit report 2004)
Director of Public Affairs at SWYMHT, Ruth Unwin says, "We are delighted to be the first employer in the area to sign up to the Mindful Employer Charter. The South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust has always encouraged people with mental health problems to apply for jobs as we value the experience and insight they can bring to the Trust. This initiative also allows us to demonstrate our commitment to staff and underlines our status as a caring, supportive employer."
Mental Health Employer Co-ordinator Gurmit Singh Jauhal, who is promoting the charter to other employers across the Wakefield area says, "It is great news that the Trust has signed up to the charter. 1 in 4 people will have a mental health problem in the course of a year. Offering support to staff around mental health issues can massively reduce sickness and absence and help in retaining staff. All employers should sign up to the charters principles."
The Mindful Employer initiative was first developed by employers in Devon and has since attracted interest from across the UK. For more information visit the Mindful Employer website: www.mindfulemployer.net
• In this area, the ‘Wakefield and District Mental Health Employment Consortium’ is working in partnership with the Mindful Employer initiative. The consortium is a voluntary informal network of employers and SWYMHT is a key partner. In Wakefield the consortium can offer support and information to help employers address mental health concerns and help with the recruitment and retention of staff. Any employer or individual with mental health problems is welcome to become involved with the consortium’s work. Contact Gurmit on 01924 339352 if you are interested in signing up to the charter or joining the consortium.