Mental health should be "critical aim" for businesses

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Maximising the mental health of staff should be the “critical aim of businesses,” Stephen Bevan, director of the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness at the Work Foundation, has said.

Bevan told delegates at the second Why Mental Health Matters conference, organised by Maudsley Learning, that mental illness should now be given parity to physical illness as something organisations need to tackle.

He said: “The link between people with mental illness developing physical illnesses is now undisputed.”

But he explained HR professionals also need to update the preconceptions they still have about staff with mental health problems.

He added: “It’s still the case that 25% of HR professionals say people with mental health problems are 'unreliable and weak'.”

He told delegates: “The mental health of our population will be pivotal to the continued vitality of our economy. My strong sense is that most employers do want workplaces where people feel ‘well’, but more investment is needed if this wish is to actually happen on a more widespread basis.”

Last week Bevan received the European Personality award for his contributions to the field of mental health.

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