Prince Harry driving debate on mental health
As part of his recent involvement with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Prince Harry has been trying to get listeners to think about important issues concerning the broader impact of mental health in the UK.
The Prince, who recently guest-edited an episode of the programme, has been encouraging people to think about one issue in particular – whether there is a link between mental health and productivity in the workplace.
The debate comes after a Government-commissioned review published late last year revealed that around 15 per cent of British workers are living with some form of mental health condition.
Employers are urged to support their workers at all costs, ensuring that their wellbeing is at the forefront of their experiences at work.
However, the Stevenson-Farmer Review revealed that poor mental health at work is a growing problem – and that more needs to be done to tackle it.
Russell Stilwell, an entrepreneur who set up electrical company RSE Building Services several years ago, was interviewed as part of the Today programme.
He told listeners about a string of bad events which seriously affected his mental health.
First, his best friend passed away. Shortly afterwards, RSE Building Services lost its most important client and ended up in debt. Around the same time, Russel’s father died.
He said: “Getting up in the morning was becoming hard, being reasonable was becoming hard.
“I was carrying the people in my business, carrying my family and I couldn’t cope. I was drinking, I snapped at my family, I became a monster… I was ill.”
Mr Stilwell, who has since become involved with a prominent mental health charity, recovered after seeking counselling and has since managed to turn his business around.
He is now urging more people – and specifically men working in the construction industry – to seek help.
“We can reduce the ‘macho culture’ that exists and mitigate the amount of mental health and wellbeing issues that exist in our industry,” he said.
“There’s a business case as well. Productivity will improve by focusing on the wellbeing of our people and our people knowing their wellbeing is at the forefront of our culture.”