WMCA mental health work in government report

West Midlands Combined Authority Mental Health Commission’s Workplace Wellbeing trial featured in a government report making headlines today.

Prime Minister Theresa May commissioned the Thriving at Work report, which found that the annual cost to the UK economy of jobs lost through mental ill health has been estimated at up to £99 billion.

The independent review - conducted by Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, and the former chairman of HBOS, Lord Stevenson - also found that people with mental health problems are losing their jobs at double the rate of people without such conditions.

One of the authors’ recommendations was to ‘…explore the potential to incentivise employers, especially SMEs, to implement the mental health core standards, including building on evidence from the West Midlands ‘wellbeing premium’ trial.’

WMCA Wellbeing Board chair Cllr Bob Sleigh said: “We very much welcome the report, which echoes our focus in this area.

“It is encouraging to see work already taking place here in the region used as evidence for a national study.

“The need to support people into work and while in the workplace was a major theme to come out of the Mental Health Commission’s report and the Thrive West Midlands action plan has a number of commitments designed to address that.”

Thrive West Midlands implementation director Sean Russell said: “I am delighted that the government is backing this agenda.

“We expect to start trials of the Individual Placement Scheme in the region early next year, designed to get people back into work.

“We also continue to work on the Wellbeing Premium plans - an innovative fiscal incentive scheme for firms with positive policies on staff wellbeing.

“And we are working on a West Midlands Workplace Wellbeing Commitment – to urge both public and private sector employers to demonstrate commitment to their employees’ mental health and wellbeing.”