Priory opens first Wellbeing Centre in City of London
This week, Norman Lamb, Minister of State for Care and Support, has called on FTSE 100 companies to do more about the mental health of their employees. And it’s no coincidence that within the same week, we are opening our first Priory Wellbeing Centre on Fenchurch Street in London.
During 2013/14, a report from the Office of National Statistics found that 15.2 million working days were lost due to stress or depression in Great Britain – that’s almost 10 times as many days as were lost to migraines and headaches. And recent research that we conducted, found that 71% of the people we spoke to would worry about telling their employer if they had a mental health condition, for fear of getting a negative response.
Priory Wellbeing Centres are a new initiative to provide greater access to treatment for anxiety, stress, depression and addictions to those who live and work in towns and cities. Priory Wellbeing Centre Fenchurch Street comes in response to a growing demand by employees and large UK corporates for more – and better - mental health services in the heart of the capital.
Mental health stigma: does it still exist?
Tom Riall, Chief Executive of the Priory Group, explains: “Mental illness is one of the scourges of modern society, and too many people suffer in silence because of the taboo that is still associated with such a condition.”
Conservative MP and mental health campaigner, Charles Walker agrees: “Despite the welcome progress in tackling stigma, mental illness is still seen in too many quarters as something that polite company doesn't really want to talk about, or get close to.
“It's still perhaps seen as a weakness, the sort of 'pull yourself together' mentality, but it's not a weakness. For too long, mental health has been a poor relation of healthcare, but there is a genuine appetite for change.”
Mr Walker added: “People with mental health problems often fly under the radar of doctors and mental health professionals, but even if you're able to work, and fulfil family responsibilities, mental health problems can have serious consequences. No-one should suffer in silence.”
Stress in the city
Priory CEO Tom Riall continues: “There is significant – and growing – unmet demand for mental health services in the city due to the fast paced and high pressure environment. Stress, anxiety and depression in the workplace are not new issues in the city, but they are on the rise."
The recently established City Mental Health Alliance, which includes involvement from corporate giants such as KPMG, Deloitte and Linklaters, is also looking to tackle this issue. The Alliance’s aims include:
- Establishing mental health as a ‘boardroom issue’
- Increase mental health literacy
- Create a culture of openness
- Enable practical steps to be taken by employers
“Serious mental health issues lead to staff taking time off work, lower productivity, and often more serious problems later on. We want to treat these conditions early so people can be helped before their condition deteriorates.”
Priory Wellbeing Centre Fenchurch Street will employ more than 15 consultant psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, counselling psychologists, and cognitive behavioural therapists who have expertise in treating a wide variety of conditions. The centre will offer treatment and flexibility that suits busy people’s lives.