Today, Britain’s first Minister for Mental health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention Mrs Doyle-Price was appointed ready for World Mental Health Day 2018.
Mental health well being charity, Mates in Mind, believe the appointment of Mrs Doyle-Price represents another major shift in attitudes towards mental health and wellbeing across the nation.
The charity welcomed the announcement, even after figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the rate of suicide among men in the UK has reached its lowest for more than 30 years.
However, Mates in Mind believe that within the construction industry this complex issue remains particularly prominent. In 2017 Randstad found that more than a third of construction workers surveyed had experienced a mental health condition in the last year. In the same year the ONS reported that the suicide rate among construction labourers is more than three times higher than the national average for men in England and Wales.
Speaking at the 2018 Mad World Conference this week, Professor Sir Cary Cooper noted that in this respect employers should not to offer “easy” solutions such as “mindfulness at lunch” in order to tackle the complex challenge mental health poses. It is important not to view one action as a solution to the issue we face in the same way that we should not view the appointment of Mrs Doyle-Price as a solution to the UK’s mental health difficulties.
In response to the recent appointment, Mates in Mind’s Executive Director said: “Whilst there has certainly been a marked change in the way mental ill-health is being seen across society, it still remains a sensitive and challenging issue for society, and employers. Greater awareness of the prevalence and extent of the challenge is increasingly understood, but how this can be better managed and more importantly, redressed, is far more complex and will take concerted effort on many levels Increasingly, employers are recognising their role in this agenda as well. But we believe we are very much in the early stages of this journey. This ministerial appointment and the funding for Samaritans suggests that the Government accepts such a position”