City bodies back action plan to improve mental health of their staff

Nearly half (47pc) of City workers have suffered mental health problems at their current employer, research has shown CREDIT: SHAUN CURRY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Anumber of City organisations including HSBC and the Bank of England have signed up to an action plan to tackle widespread mental health problems in the finance industry.

The framework, compiled by the City Mental Health Alliance (CMHA), recommends a string of changes such as discussing mental health in board meetings, outlining mental health policies in annual reports and offering “resilience training” to all staff.

It will be launched this evening at Goldman Sachs’s offices in central London. Nearly half (47pc) of City workers have suffered mental health problems at their current employer, CMHA research found last year.

The group’s members employ more than 250,000 people across the UK and include Legal & General, Lloyds, the London Stock Exchange and Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC, the big four accountants.

The report’s recommendations also include encouraging business leaders who have experienced mental ill health to share their experiences and identifying “hotspots” where workplace conditions can be harmful to mental health.

Lloyds chief Antonio Horta-Osorio 
Lloyds chief Antonio Horta-Osorio has spoken publicly about his own experiences of mental ill health to raise the profile of the issue CREDIT: SIMON DAWSON/BLOOMBERG

It also suggests including mental health and wellbeing as part of an organisation’s management training and raising awareness of risks such as stress, long hours and bullying.

The standards are currently voluntary, but the CMHA plans to consult with members on self-assessment and benchmarking tools that could be brought in to assess organisations.

Poppy Jaman, chief executive of CMHA, said: “Every single employee has both mental health and physical health. We all hope our guide will equip businesses with the practical tools they need to make real change.”

City firms have become more vocal on mental health issues in recent years. The most high profile example has been António Horta-Osório, the Lloyds chief, who publicly discussed his breakdown of 2011.

At a CMHA event in April this year, Mr Horta-Osório urged other businesses to “show leadership” on improving staff mental health. He said Lloyds had extended its own “resilience” leadership training programme from the top 200 executives to 2,000 managers.