‘Where’s Your Head At?’ Campaign – Parliamentary Debate
Where’s Your Head At? is a campaign which will “improve the mental health of the nation by ensuring employers look after the wellbeing of their workforce. We all have mental health – In just the same way as we each have a physical fitness. Evidence also shows that the earlier a mental health issue – like stress, anxiety or depression – is detected the easier it is to manage and treat. We want to make it easy for you to talk about your mental health at work & ensure that there are trained colleagues on site who know how to point you in the direction of any help you might need”.
Where’s Your Head At? delivered the petition to Downing Street calling for the law to be changed and are pleased to announce that mental health first aid in the workplace will be debated in the House of Commons Thursday 17th January.
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.
Led by Natasha Devon MBE, Bauer Media UK and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England, the ‘Where’s Your Head At?’ campaign has been leading the calls for outdated Health and Safety legislation to be amended to ensure mental health is protected in the workplace.
Luciana Berger MP said:
“I’m pleased to be leading this cross-party debate granted by the Backbench Business Committee in the House of Commons Chamber. We know that every year 300,000 people with a long term mental health condition lose their jobs.
“This debate provides an important opportunity to put forward the proposal of putting mental and physical health first aid on an equal footing. A change in the law would be a step towards achieving real equality between physical and mental health; a principle that Parliament enshrined in law back in 2012 in the Health and Social Care Act.
“Employers across the country have an important role to play in supporting employees. This plan would ensure employers fully abide by that responsibility.”
The debate announced last week 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.
Mental health campaigner, Natasha Devon MBE, said:
“To have Members of Parliament from across all three main parties come together to support our Where’s Your Head At? campaign shows the extent to which this is a long overdue change.
“The government has been promising the public parity of esteem between physical and mental health since 2011. Yet still British people work in environments where their mental wellbeing isn’t given the same obligatory consideration by employers as their physical health. We can’t rely on the good will of business owners alone, this needs to be enshrined in law to ensure no one is left behind. This debate represents a crucial next step towards this important and necessary change.”
Simon Blake, Chief Executive, Mental Health First Aid England, said:
“Putting Mental Health First Aid on a legal par with physical first aid is common sense. Every sensible MP should support this simple, yet significant legislative change to ensure employees’ mental health is protected and promoted in the work place.”
Paul Keenan, CEO, Bauer Media UK & European Radio, said:
“A widely desired and sensible change in the law is getting nearer. With such cross-party support, more than 200,000 signatories to our petition and the support of more than 50 business leaders momentum to have mental health and physical health treated equally is building”.
There are still ways you can get involved!
- Email your local MP to ask them to join the back bench debate taking place on Thursday 17th January
- Tweet your local MP to encourage them to take part using this suggested post. You can find your MP’s twitter handle here @(MP’s twitter handle) #Mentalhealthfirstaid will be debated in Parliament on Thursday 17th January. As my MP, I’m asking you to join the discussion to bring parity of esteem to First Aid in the workplace – a call backed by employers and the general public http://www.wheresyourheadat.org/
- You can still sign our 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!