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    Bosses Should Discuss Mental Health Issues With Staff, UK Charity Urges

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    Influential British business figures are being urged to "shatter the silence" surrounding mental ill health issues. Captains of industry, alongside chief executives and senior officials, from both the public and private sector, are being openly encouraged to discuss their own personal experiences with employees.

    The Mental Health Foundation is calling on business leaders to set an example by speaking frankly and honestly about their own mental health.

    They should also take a greater interest in the personal welfare of their staff, the charity says.

    Loneliness

    ​Leading business leaders have been less reticent, so far, to openly voice their own mental health plight for fear it could harm their careers.

    Only Antonio Horta-Osorio, chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, has shown any sort of lead, having taken leave to sort stress and insomnia issues.

    "Leadership is a lonely thing," he said.

    Urging more to follow suit, Toni Giugliano, of the Mental Health Foundation, said: "Our politicians are starting to make all the right noises and record funding is being put into services, but our workplaces are struggling to embrace that change.

    "If we want to help people out of poverty and into work we need a cultural shift in our workplaces, alongside a more compassionate welfare system."

    ​Although social attitudes are now evolving, the charity warn offices and businesses are struggling to embrace that change.

    It insists nine out of ten people who have mental health problems want to work as it provides them with a sense of achievement, status as well as solving financial needs.

    More often or not, however, the foundation points out the lowest-paid workers often have little security or work patterns resulting in the highest rates of suicide.

    The charity argues employers need to be flexible given the fluctuating nature of many mental illnesses.

    'Bad' Employment

    A recent report from the foundation found that unemployment, "bad" employment and in-work poverty are harmful to both physical and mental health. 

    "We need workplaces that help people to flourish. We need employees, managers and business leaders who know what good mental health looks like. We need leadership. Chief executives and business leaders should shatter the silence on mental health by being honest about their own experiences. And beyond grand gestures, imagine if more line managers often took a moment to ask staff how they were getting on?" said Mr. Giugliano.

    Poor mental health is too often perceived via cliches, he continued, "In truth, common mental health problems are all around us. Most of us will be affected at some stage in our lives."

    The issue has also been shown to affect growing numbers of young people, particularly among students, as universities around Britain report more seeking counselling services.

    ​Chris Glendinning of Young Scots for Independence said: "Increasing demand has stretched services to the limit. Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities have longer waiting lists for counselling than any other university in the UK, whilst only a handful of Scotland's colleges have dedicated full-time counselling staff.

    "Reviewing funding would be a crucial first step towards ensuring that young people with mental health can access the support they need," he added.

    'Cultural Shift'

    ​Despite significant strides being made recently in raising mental health awareness, campaigners argue much still needs to be done within the workplace to ensure a "major cultural shift."

    It comes after the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry both spoke movingly about their own emotional difficulties suffered following the tragic death of their mother, Princess Diana. 

    They called for an end to the taboo surrounding the subject, a move backed by a host of celebrities including England international footballer Aaron Lennon, who was detained under the Mental Health Act.

    The Premiership soccer star has since spoken out in an attempt to encourage others to talk and tackle their own problems.

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    suicide, depression, charity, employment, work, mental health, Mental Health Foundation, Scotland, United Kingdom
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