Bauer Media calls on government to ensure there is a mental health first aider in every workplace and college

Laura Rutkowski

Bauer Media has launched a petition calling on the government to make it a requirement for every workplace or college to have a mental health first aider in the UK – equal to the legal requirement for a physical first aider.

This comes off the back of a mental health survey Bauer conducted, which revealed that 90% of the public still feel that discussing mental health is a taboo. 

The survey is part of Bauer’s campaign Where’s Your Head At?, which surveyed readers and listeners from heat, Grazia, Empire, Magic, KISS and Absolute Radio in collaboration with mental health campaigner Natasha Devon MBE and the Mental Health First Aid England.

The results of the survey will be brought to life during Mental Health Awareness Week, which kicks off today until May 20, with coverage across Bauer’s magazine, radio and online brands.

Lucie Cave, Editorial Creative Director at Bauer, has driven the campaign. “Mental health is such an important issue for our collective audiences and our survey reflects just how much of an increased worry it is for them in 2018. It’s our job as influential brands to act as their mouthpiece and do something to drive positive change,” she commented.

Of the men and women who responded to the poll, 86% agreed that mental health is one of the biggest challenges facing the country today and over a third of those people said they are more stressed now than they were a couple of years ago.  

Contrary to popular opinion, only 16% of people blame social media for having a negative impact on their mental health. The single biggest worry was money (58%), while 47% said their workload impacted their mental wellbeing.

Despite recent positive steps toward a more open dialogue about mental health, including the launch of Princes William and Harry’s charity Heads Together, 90% of those questioned still feel that there remains a taboo in speaking about mental health issues in the UK.

Of the people questioned, 56% said they have experienced a mental health issue, 63% reported that they have gone through a period of depression and 42% have experienced a panic attack.

Almost half (47%) said they do not feel that they have a good work-life balance. This was particularly high for those living in London. Over half (56%) of respondents said that if they had to take time off work due to stress/anxiety, they would tell their boss the truth, but this was lower for those living in London. 

Respondents (15%) have taken time off work as a direct result of stress/anxiety in the last year – and this was higher among females than males.

Expanding on the findings, Devon commented: “I hope this will spur the government into action to protect the wellbeing of its citizens at work. These results are significant because they challenge traditional thinking about the proportion of the population affected by mental health issues and the reasons behind them.”

Bauer has recently trained seven members of its HR team to be mental health first aiders and provides access to professional support via wellbeing organisation NABS and an Employee Assistance programme. 

It has also recently piloted Thrive Wellness Week at its Peterborough office, which offered an opportunity to partake in useful, inspiring and valued content that aimed to make people healthy, happy and more resilient.

Paul Keenan, CEO of Bauer Media UK + Nordics, said: “We are seeking to drive a vital mission: breaking the stigma attached to talking about mental health. Not only that, but as an employer, we want Bauer to be a great place to do great work and we recognise this growing challenge and the role we must play. 

“With so many of our influential brands – across radio, publishing and online contributing towards this campaign for this new law – we hope to generate a seismic attitude shift.”

Where’s Your Head At? has garnered support from a number of celebrities, including: Liam Payne, Jamie Laing, Charlotte Crosby, Megan McKenna and Kem Cetinay, who have all spoken openly about their personal struggles with mental health and have pledged their support to the petition. 

Sign Bauer’s petition asking for it to be a legal requirement for every workplace or college to have a mental health first aider here


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