On World Mental Health Day today (Wednesday) North Devon’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats has backed Vince Cable’s call for more support from businesses for those struggling with mental health.

Dr Kirsten Johnson, herself a trained mental health first aider, has backed her party leader’s calls for employers to do more to help those dealing with mental health issues.

Kirsten worked closely with former Health Minister, Norman Lamb MP, on bringing an Early Day Motion (EDM) and calling for the same level of recognition between mental and physical first aid.

This would mean that every first aider in the workplace would have the skills to support those in mental health crisis and get them the help they need.

Kirsten said: “Norman Lamb and I went on a mental health first aid course together and we are now trained mental health first aiders.

“Many businesses are training their line managers in mental health first aid and developments around wellbeing. It’s not only good for employees, it makes businesses more productive too.”

In recognition of World Mental Health Day, leader of the Liberal Democrats and former business secretary Vince Cable has called on employers to publish their mental health strategies and for the extension of mental health services to 18-25-year olds.

Sending a warning to industries that if they fail to publish their practices, the Government must compel them to do so, Vince Cable said: “Businesses must become far more transparent about how they help staff deal with mental health issues. Only 11 per cent of our biggest employers disclose any information on mental health in their annual reports, according to Business in the Community, but to ensure that best practice is shared across industry, improving the workplace for all employees, they all must.

“This transparency would also drive standards through competition, and with mental health finally being more openly discussed in society and our schools, it is time workplaces stepped up.

“If big companies won’t voluntarily disclose this information or produce a thorough, publicly published plan of action, then the government should take heed of the Stevenson/Farmer review and amend legislation to force employers to do so.”

On the issue of mental health service provision for young adults, Mr Cable added: “Children and adolescents face a cliff edge in mental health services when they turn 18. There has been a hugely positive response to this proposal from the mental health experts I have addressed this week.

“Our current system means teenagers are having to face the major life changes of leaving home, going to university and starting their first jobs without the mental health support they need.

“That is why the Liberal Democrats would ensure all young people can access Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services up to the age of 25, rather than 18 or 16. A joined up service to the age of 25 would support young people through the major transitions of life.”