This week, PM Theresa May announced an overhaul of the nation’s mental health; focusing on removing the stigma and providing more access to treatment for all, but especially for Britain’s children and adolescents. She is also asking employers to take action, announcing mental illness prevention as a top priority for employers.

In her speech she said that, “mental illness… destroys lives. Changing this goes right to the heart of our humanity”. We only have to watch our partners at The Movember Foundation’s Suicide Notes Talk Too Late; or hear our Good Day At Work Conversation 2017 speaker Jonny Benjamin talking about his near suicide experience to know just how much mental illness can destroy lives.

MBE Recipient Jonny Benjamin, famous for his Channel 4 series, Stranger on the Bridge, battled mental illness from childhood. His mission, is to make mental health treatment more accessible and spoken about amongst Britain’s future generations. Like the PM, he wants to address mental illness early on and see children and young adults receive more education and support.

Of the mental health first aid training the PM has proposed to be offered in our schools, our MD Ben Moss said, “this is a significant investment in support of mental health, and could make a positive difference to the lives of our future generations.”

“There is positive intent here but care needs to be taken in terms of how this is implemented. Schools need to ensure they can support pupils beyond one training course—this needs to be ‘bought into’ at a cultural level.”

More broadly the PM has announced measures to help UK businesses prevent and support people with mental health issues. Specifically, the government has appointed mental health campaigner, Lord Stevenson, and Chief Executive of Mind, Paul Farmer to undertake a review focusing on improving mental health support in the workplace.

Good Day At Work President, Sir Cary Cooper, said, “Mrs May’s announcement is a great step in the right direction for our nation.”

“Mental health can no longer be ignored by society and particularly by business. It must, however be connected to business outcomes through a far-reaching  and well-designed Wellbeing Strategy in order for real culture change to happen around how we see, treat and talk about mental health in the workplace.”

“A healthier workforce leads to a healthier business world. It will be interesting to see how the mental health conversation develops in 2017. In the wake of the Prime Ministers’ comments  we have an excellent and very timely opportunity to explore this further at our Good Day At Work Conversation this March.”

Conversations in the workplace need to be cultural, not just driven by government initiatives. We’re calling for more businesses to create environments where important mental health conversations are enabled, encouraged, and are seen as ‘normal’. The stigma needs to go.

Our MD Ben explained, “The government definitely has a role to play here but it’s not the only role. Employers need to foster a positive environment and skill base that enables people to talk about their mental health. But at the same time there’s room for us all as employees to take more responsibility for our health and happiness at work. So there’s an important tripartite relationship here between the government, the employer and employees.”

“What the PM really got right here was her emphasis on prevention and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health. Because focusing on being proactive means focusing on culture. And focusing on culture is the key to enabling the workplaces and society of the future to recognise, treat and support those who suffer with mental health issues. As Theresa May said we really do have responsibilities to each other in this respect.”

We can’t hope for a future of positive wellbeing, for our society or our workplaces, without focusing on our kids, our future. Our Good Day At Work Conversation 2017 event, explores the Future of Wellbeing, and as part of the day we’ll be putting the magnifying glass up to our children:

Are the values, goals, support and content inside our current education system preparing our children to live a happy and fulfilling life, as active, self-aware and thriving members of our community?

What is the role of mental health education in children’s lives and how can this be done successfully?

Our expert children’s health speakers—Jonny Benjamin, Catherine Roche Chief Executive at Places2be, and Dr Pooky Knightsmith, Director of Children and Young People and Schools Programme atCharlie Waller Memorial Trust—will lead the thought provoking discussion on children; the future of wellbeing.

Join our expert speakers, Ben, Sir Cary, and other wellbeing leaders to continue the conversation about mental health and other pressing and societal-changing workplace wellbeing issues at the Good Day At Work Conversation 2017.We are constantly packing and unpacking our never ending list of priorities. We try to squeeze every last drop of efficiency out of our week, and all too often the first sacrifice is our personal time. The time we take for ourselves to switch off, wind down and relax.