‘Where’s Your Head At?’ Campaign – Debate Results
The debate in parliament yesterday (17th January 2019) follows October’s presentation of a 200,000-strong public petition to Downing Street and the subsequent publication of an Open Letter to the Government from over 50 business leaders highlighting employer support for the issue. Businesses supporting the change include PwC, WHSmith, Royal Mail and Thames Water.
Sponsored by a cross-party trio of MPs, Luciana Berger MP (Lab), Norman Lamb MP (Lib Dem) and Johnny Mercer MP (Con), and supported by over 60 cross-party MPs, the debate follows calls from the public, employers and mental health campaigners for the Government to follow through on its 2017 manifesto pledge to change the law and put mental and physical first aid on an equal footing in the workplace.
You can read more on the campaign on our blog ‘Where’s Your Head At? Campaign – Parliamentary Debate’
So, what happened at the debate?
A cross party group of MPs overwhelmingly backed a motion to introduce legislation to put mental and physical first aid on an equal footing through First Aid regulations. Some of these included Tim Loughton MP, Jon Cruddas MP, Norman Lamb MP, Gerald Jones MP and the Shadow Health Minister, Julie Cooper.
The MPs from across the five main political parties each spoke in real support, some with personal stories, noting the immediate need for this legislative change in putting mental and physical first aid on an equal footing through first aid regulations.
Here is what was said…
Simon Blake Chief Executive, Mental Health First Aid England, said:
“We need the law to change to put mental and physical first aid on an equal footing in the workplace. This proposed change is backed by some of the UK’s biggest businesses, the general public and Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum. Today, there was a further demonstration of support for this legislative change when MPs debated the issue in parliament. Although the motion was opposed by Jackie Doyle-Price, the Minister for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention, the speaker concluded that the ayes had it. There was also a commitment by the Minister to continue the debate on the issue of mental health in the workplace.”
“The government has made some clear commitments to achieving parity of esteem for mental health, a vision that we and many other mental health organisations share. Updating the current first aid regulations to include mental health would move us one step closer to achieving this equality and we believe that it really is a case of when, not if, this change in law will happen.”
Despite the overwhelming support for legislative change, both in the House and by UK employers in their letter to the Prime Minister, Government ministers including Minister for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, and Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton MP, did not support the motion. However, Ms Doyle-Price did agree that more debate was required on the issue of mental health in the workplace.
However, the conclusion of the speaker at the end of the debate was “The ayes have it” so the fantastic work will continue in making this legislation ambition a reality and we shall keep you up to date!
There are still ways you can get involved!
- You can still sign the petition at change.org/wheresyourheadat – the number will keep going up until we’ve had the law changed, so remember to share it with your friends, family and colleagues. Every new signature is a reminder to lawmakers that this is an issue that affects us all.
- Request that your organisation has a trained Mental Health First Aider.
- If you work for large organisation, let your leadership team know that they can also support our campaign. Get in touch to find out how firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click below to find out about how you can become a mental health first aider!