Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Expert comment - Mental health in the United Kingdom workplace, is enough being done?

Expert comment - Mental health in the United Kingdom workplace, is enough being done?

According to a Freedom of Information request sent out to NHS trusts by children's charity NSPCC, 292 pupils in Lincolnshire schools were referred to CAMHS (NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) past year. It's believed community and voluntary services, such as the helpline, are a lifeline to rejected children. While some of the rise since then is likely to be a result of growing awareness among teachers, it also reflects a growing mental health crisis among young people. It's estimated that one-in-six working age adults experience depression, anxiety or stress-related illness at any one time, costing the United Kingdom business economy an estimated £70b to £100 billion every year and resulting in around 70 million lost working days.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said the statistics highlighted the pressures the pressures mental health services are under in England today and the number of referrals from primary schools was "particularly concerning". On top of that, 82% also revealed they faced high levels of stress at some point in a regular week and eight percent "that felt stressed all the time".

The NSPCC sent freedom of information requests to 66 NHS trusts, to which 53 responded with at least some of the data sought.

Accordingly, another big recommendation was that two mental health days should be introduced for public sector workers and pressure on employers to identify and address "psychological hazards" in the workplace.

More than half of referrals from settings in England for mental health treatment in the last three years were from primary schools, the NSPCC says.

Simon Fenn 600CF
Simon Fenn

In nearly a third of referrals for which data is available, children were denied specialist treatment from Child and Adolescent Mental health Services (CAMHS). "Giving employees support and a positive psychosocial work environment has a proven impact on productivity and means that employees embrace the challenges of work with more energy and commitment", he said.

Sarah Hannafin, senior policy adviser on mental health and wellbeing for the school leaders' union NAHT, said headteachers were concerned Camhs is setting treatment thresholds too high. "It is vital that Government urgently provides more funding to Childline and help children who don't have access to support elsewhere".

Esther Rantzen, the Childline founder and president said: "We must make sure that Childline is adequately funded so it isn't left vulnerable and can be there for the children who have nowhere else to turn".

Hollyoaks will air a special episode focusing on Alfie Nightingale's mental health struggles on Monday 4 June in which the character is diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

"Individually we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn how to respond most effectively".

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