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Mental Health: Absence from Work

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:38 pm on 17th October 2018.

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Photo of Craig Tracey Craig Tracey Conservative, North Warwickshire 5:38 pm, 17th October 2018

I thank every Member here for their contribution and for the general spirit of the debate. It has been conducted in the way that I hoped it would be. It is clear that we all want to see progress on this matter.

Jim Shannon made some excellent comments, as usual. His arguments complemented those that I put forward, particularly on the role that companies can play. However, it is important that we give companies the tools—whether through Government action, insurance products or whatever else—to allow them to play that role. He also mentioned a critical point about encouraging people to come forward and share their health issues.

I also thank the Opposition Front-Benchers for their comments—particularly Marion Fellows, who shared her experience. Only if people come forward and share their experiences will others understand that they are not the only ones to have such feelings. That can happen to us all, and such case studies are the best way to help us to progress. No strategy will work without people coming forward; it is a two-way street. I will particularly reflect on the hon. Lady’s comments about teaching resilience, particularly to younger people. That is important, not only in these matters but throughout their lives in general.

I also thank the Minister. We are all pleased to hear that good progress is being made and that good, positive steps are being taken. I appreciate as well as anybody that there is no quick fix to this issue, but the Government are taking it forward and driving it. Steps such as getting more people into work are critical to doing that. However, the more people in work, the greater the potential for people to suffer from these difficulties. It is important to recognise the issue and provide solutions and tools to enable business to combat it.

It is key that we, as Back-Bench Members, continue to push this issue and encourage the Government to keep it at the forefront of their thinking. At the end of the day, tackling it will bring a benefit not only to employers and the people affected but to the overall success of our economy and our country.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House
has considered the financial effect of absence from work due to mental health problems.

Sitting adjourned.