Press Release Issued by On Set Welfare: 25th March 2020
TV Psychologist and former Advisor to the UK Government Warns the Mental Health of the Nation is at Risk and Could Be Devastated by the Government’s Lack of Clarity and Changing Rules About Who Should, and Who Should Not, Go to Work
Chartered Academic Psychologist & Popular Broadcaster, Honey Langcaster-James, warns that the Government has a public health responsibility to protect people’s MENTAL HEALTH, as well as their physical health. She claims that the changing rules about who should go to work and when, and the general lack of clarity about who should be staying at home, could put millions of Brits at risk of a Mental Health crisis, let alone place them at risk of the virus itself.
Following the Government’s change of direction on who should be continuing to go to work and under what circumstances, Psychologist Honey Langcaster-James, who is best known for her regular appearances on UK TV shows Lorraine, GMB, BBC & Sky News and for being Director of Services at On Set Welfare, a company which provides specialist psychological advice to Hollywood Stars, Celebrities and TV & Media Companies and has previously advised and provided services to the UK Government, has issued a dire warning about the Nation’s Mental Health. However, she says she also wants to offer some reassurance to the public and says that anyone who believes their physical health OR their mental health may be at risk if they attend work, might have more rights than they think, NOT to attend work.
She warns “I am deeply concerned that, in addition to the obvious health crisis, there is now a serious public health issue arising in relation to the British Peoples’ Mental Health. I am also concerned about the Mental Health of our vital Healthcare Workers, who at the moment are concerned they do not have sufficient PPE and therefore don’t feel adequately protected. I cannot sit back and watch an additional mental health crisis happen on top of what is already a national emergency.”
She continued “Lack of clarity, and a sense that one’s wellbeing is not being adequately protected, is likely to contribute to extreme stress and mental health difficulties which many people are already experiencing. If the Government does not take steps to very CLEARLY put health concerns far above any economic concerns, then my fear is that Coronavirus is going to start taking lives – not only because of the physical illness it causes, but also because of the mental and emotional devastation I am concerned it is going to leave in its wake!”
She added “Many people were feeling relieved yesterday, for example, not to have to go to work, but now they may be feeling anxious again. Some will also be put under pressure to attend work by their employer because of this confusion, and some people feel the pressure to put food on the table, if they are self-employed. No one should feel forced to take decisions which puts their health, their families’ health, and other people’s health at risk due to economic uncertainty. We are supposed to live in a better and more supportive society than this. Feeling under pressure to attend work, while also feeling that you are at risk, could cost someone their mental health and wellbeing, due to the extreme anxiety that could cause.”
Dr Rowan Myron, Associate Professor of Healthcare Improvement and Head of Research and Development at On Set Welfare, agrees “It is vital that the messages society is receiving are firm and clear. Vacillating messages can be harmful for people’s mental health, they think they know what they should do, then the advice changes again. Uncertainty can lead to anxiety. The science is clear, people should stay at home, this is our best chance to stop the spread.”
Psychologist Honey Langcaster-James offered some advice and reassurance to anyone currently feeling anxious “Although, I am not a lawyer, I am a trained Business Psychologist and specialist in the area of Mental Health within the working environment and you very likely have worker’s rights in relation to your MENTAL health, that may help you as much your right to physical health and safety. For example, you may not have to attend work if you have reasonable cause to believe that your physical AND/OR mental health would be placed at risk if you did so. If you are not an absolutely essential worker, and you are experiencing crippling anxiety at the prospect of going to work, then you should seek some legal advice about whether it may be better for you to stay at home for your mental wellbeing, as much as anything else. It is vital people know that they may be able to do this. After all, the more people who feel empowered and informed enough to insist on staying at home if they can, the more our NHS staff will be protected, and the more lives will be saved!”
Assunta Del Priore, who is an Employment Law Barrister, agreed to support On Set Welfare in getting this important and empowering message to the public across regarding their potential rights NOT to attend work. She advises “Employers who insist on employees coming in to work in breach of Public Health England recommendations are at risk of constructive unfair dismissal claims.” She continued, “From a legal perspective, where an employer unreasonably puts pressure on someone to attend work, in these circumstances, they may be found to have breached the employee’s contract of employment in such a way that the employee could resign and claim constructive dismissal. This is because, if it is without reasonable and proper cause, it could potentially destroy or seriously damage the relationship of confidence and trust which is necessary between an employer and employee. It may also the employer’s duty to maintain a safe workplace.”
Honey Langcaster-James added “Knowing your rights at a time like this, this can make you feel emotionally and mentally safer and more secure. Feeling more secure, can help to reduce stress. Stress can impede the immune system, so reducing the nation’s stress right now should be considered a matter of paramount importance.”
Speaking of her own personal situation she added “I know how difficult this current time is for everyone. I have received an unprecedented number of messages in the past few days on social media, from very anxious people. I am also self-employed myself (a small business owner) and I also have elderly parents and an adult daughter with asthma who are all currently in isolation due to their vulnerabilities. So I know, on both a personal and a professional level, what people are going through right now in terms of anxiety and stress. If this message empowers just one more person to STAY AT HOME, then it has been worth it.”
Speaking further about the current state of the Mental Health of the Nation, she added “I am deeply, deeply, worried. People are suffering, and I am concerned about the emotional fall out of all of this as it could be devastating, not just for this generation, but for generations to come. The public are scared and are stressed. Our vital healthcare workers are emotionally and mentally troubled too. The Government must take action NOW to provide the reassurance and safety that people need, and that goes beyond physical health and safety. I want people to know that they may have more rights than they may realise because as many of us as possible must STAY AT HOME!”
Honey is now providing FREE advice and tips on Social Media
In an effort to help the nation cope with the psychological effects of Coronavirus, Psychologist Honey Langcaster-James, who normally only works with celebrities, public figures and media production companies through her private practice, has taken steps to make her psychological and mental health advice available to the public on a mass scale.
You can follow her on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter throughout the Coronavirus crisis and she will be giving tips and advice to help you and your loved ones’ cope.
Send questions to her online using the Hashtag #AskHoney