UK Study: Businesses Need More Support To Deal With Mental
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 16, 2006
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND--A survey of small businesses in the United Kingdom has found that two-thirds have no procedures in place for helping recruit and retain workers with mental illnesses.
At the same time, the survey revealed that nearly 15 percent of the businesses had staff take time off work over the last year because of mental health issues.
The study, released Monday by the Disability Rights Commission, also found that a large majority of employers were open to help such as a free help line and a free one-to-one counseling service for their workers.
The DRC called the findings a "wake-up call" for government officials, who have said they want to get a million people off disability benefits and back to work. About 40 percent of those potential workers have mental illnesses.
"We need to recognize that mental ill-health is now a badge of exclusion from the labor market in the way race and gender once were," said DRC chairman Bert Massie, in a press statement.
"If employers had better advice and support they would have less fear about employing someone with a mental health problem -- and employees in turn would be less fearful of disclosing their condition," Massie added. "Workplaces infused with fear are not good for anyone -- the employee, the employer or the bottom line."
David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party, criticized the Labor Party for ignoring the needs of workers with mental illnesses. According to The Scotsman news agency, Cameron, whose son has cerebral palsy, attacked what he said was the "scandal" of five million people with disabilities "confined to the scrap heap of joblessness."
"Employers ill-equipped to take on staff with mental health problems" (Disability Rights Commission)
"Cameron job pledge for disabled" (BBC News)