NTW chief urges businesses to address mental health in the workplace

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear (NTW) NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive John Lawlor has urged North East business leaders to do all they can to address the mental health of their employees.

John was speaking at the North East Chamber of Commerce’s event ‘A Meeting of Minds: placing mental health at the heart of your business’ on Tuesday 13 November in central Newcastle.

The event looked at some of the practical steps business leaders can take to put mental health at the heart of the business agenda, and was supported by NTW alongside entrepreneurial law firm Square One Law and Greggs PLC.

During his keynote speech John highlighted some of the stark statistics around mental health and employment, citing evidence including Business in the Community’s latest annual report into mental health and the workplace.

Around of third of the workforce have been or will be formally diagnosed with a mental health condition, and one sixth are currently experiencing mental health issues. Two-thirds of people with a mental health condition are in work.

The benefits of taking your employees’ mental health seriously can be felt not only in their wellbeing and effectiveness but also in the bottom line. I strongly urge business leaders to do everything they can to empower line managers to feel better able to deal with issues around mental health. I would especially encourage business leaders to talk about your own experience of mental health. The more leaders talk openly, the more employees will feel able to talk.

John LawlorNTW Chief Executive

Support offered by NTW includes a range of self-help guides which can be viewed and downloaded on our website’s Self Help section. The guides are all written by experts in their field and explain mental health issues in a clear, concise and supportive way.

The Meeting of Minds event was introduced by John McCabe, Chamber president and MD of Fusion PR Creative, who spoke about the work the Chamber has done to raise awareness and encourage the region’s businesses to take action.

Other keynote speakers at the event included Simon Loy, Senior Employment Partner at Square One Law, who outlined from a legal perspective why it is so important for businesses to take mental health seriously, and Roisin Currie from Greggs PLC, who discussed the work Greggs have done to promote good mental health in their business.

The North East Chamber of Commerce hosts a range of business events for its members throughout the year – find out more on the Chamber website.

Business in the Community’s latest report on mental health in the workplace, ‘Seizing the Momentum’, is available on the BITC website.