depressionA leading mental health service has launched its first therapy clinic in London’s financial district as part of a new initiative to provide greater access to treatments for anxiety, stress, depression and addictions.

The Priory Wellbeing Centre in Fenchurch Street comes in response to a growing demand by employees and large UK corporates for better mental health services in the heart of the capital.

Of the 15.2 million working days lost to stress or depression in Great Britain in 2013-14, more than 3.5 million days were from businesses based in London and the South East.

As such, the main goal of the Priory Wellbeing Centres is to offer treatment and flexibility that suits busy people and chief executive Tom Riall believes such clinics could be extended to other parts of the UK in the future.

"Mental illness is one of the scourges of modern society, and too many people suffer in silence because of the taboo that is still associated with such a condition," he said.

“There is significant – and growing – unmet demand for mental health services in the City due to the fast paced and high pressure environment. We are offering a confidential and discreet service where busy people can get an appointment quickly and at a time to suit them.

"Stress, anxiety and depression in the workplace are not new issues in the City, but they are on the rise. Serious mental health issues lead to staff taking time off work, lower productivity, and often more serious problems later on. We want to treat these conditions early so people can be helped before their condition deteriorates."

Mental health 'seen as a weakness'
Statistics show that jobs in financial services are 44% more likely to lead to stress-related illnesses than the average UK job. For the most recent period, the Health and Safety Executive reported that there were 1,790 cases of stress-related illnesses causes by jobs in finance, more than twice as much as manufacturing, three times as many as construction, and more than any other private sector job.

Conservative MP and mental health campaigner Charles Walker added: “Despite the welcome progress in tackling stigma, mental illness is still seen in too many quarters as something that polite company doesn't really want to talk about, or get close to.

“It's still perhaps seen as a weakness, the sort of 'pull yourself together' mentality, but it's not a weakness. For too long, mental health has been a poor relation of healthcare, but there is a genuine appetite for change.”

“People with mental health problems often fly under the radar of doctors and mental health professionals, but even if you're able to work, and fulfil family responsibilities, mental health problems can have serious consequences. No one should suffer in silence.”