The UK Government has published their “Staying Mentally Well This Winter” policy paper. This gives practical advice and points to useful resources for both individuals and employers.
We all have mental health
It states that the government is committed to supporting everyone’s mental health and wellbeing throughout the winter period and beyond. The report acknowledges that the darker winter months, combined with the measures put in place from 5 November to control the spread of the virus, may put strain on people’s resilience – particularly the most vulnerable in our communities and neighbourhoods.
It goes on to encourage the use of the resources and advice available on Public Health England’s Better Health: Every Mind Matters platform. These are designed to help us make conscious plans to support our own mental wellbeing, and that of those close to us.
Workplace wellbeing guidance
The report includes a section on work related wellbeing, recognising the crucial role that employers play in ensuring we are supported to take positive actions to improve our wellbeing at work.
This includes signposts to the #mentalhealthatwork website and commitment. It also highlights guidance provided by the Health and Safety Executive designed to facilitate conversations that will help to identify and prevent work-related stress.
For financial wellbeing, the report links to the Money Navigator Tool which is part of the COVID-19 response launched by the Money Advice Service, of the Money and Pensions Service.
How the plan is being received
Responding to the announcement, Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity, said: “It’s good to see the Government acknowledge the huge impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on the nation’s mental health, evidenced by crisis referrals, hospital bed capacity, and calls to Mind’s Infoline”.
“As this winter plan shows, the responsibility for mental health does not just lie with Department for Health and Social Care or the NHS. The economic recession will leave a deep and lasting scar on our nation’s mental health – given factors such as debt, unemployment, housing, and job security are connected with our mental health. That’s why the next step should be a cross-governmental plan, as soon as possible, that covers all aspects of people’s lives and recognises the role every department must play
You can access the full report and links to guidance here.