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I’m often a week late reading the Sunday papers so … fascinating article in last Sunday’s Observer on whether workplaces should follow the example of Parliament and employ psychiatrists for the benefit of staff. Alistair Campbell, now a Time to Change ambassador, makes the case for: Oliver James, celebrity psychiatrist, therapist and author most recently of “Office Politics – how to survive in a World of Lying, Backstabbing and Dirty Tricks” – argues against.

So would Solent Mind recommend workplace psychiatrists? Well, we’d certainly recommend some of the modern workplace / wellbeing initiatives including Mindful Employer, which we’ve just renewed our commitment to. And we’re going to be supporting the Workplace Wellbeing Charter about to be launched by Public Health in Southampton.

At Solent Mind we’ve been supporting people in work (as well as into work) for years. Our job retention outcomes in our Hampshire Italk and Portsmouth Employment services are just fantastic. So why would we want to put or keep someone into, in Oliver James view, such a hostile setting as the world of work? The truth is that work is generally good for our mental health. In reality most people navigate the pitfalls of office politics pretty successfully. And some people beat office politics by choosing integrity. Simon Hoggart wrote recently about Ronnie Barker, who used to send in material to The Frost Report and The Two Ronnies under a pseudonym because he wanted the sketches to be used because they were good, not because he was in the show. At one point Gerald Wiley, his pseudonym, was writing three-quarters of the scripts. Barker would even put people off the scent by criticising them, or saying he didn’t understand a particular line.

Meanwhile I’m waiting for someone to explain how Parliament is buying in a psychiatrist for an investment of just £25,000!

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