Mental Health Issues at Work

Life is stressful, for more and more employees, or at least employees are speaking up more. According to research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), over 40% of employers have reported an increase in cases of depression and anxiety.

For employers this means responsibilities. Mainly due to the Equality Act 2010, but also because a healthy and happy workforce is a productive one!

But with the challenges of running a business and managing a team in general, employers could be forgiven for wanting to avoid the issue of Mental Health altogether. Yet of all the options, that is not one!

Although it’s a legal obligation and maybe even a moral one, being aware of how to deal with mental health issues amongst your staff could be critical to your business. The lack of understanding and knowledge is likely contributing to the £30 billion a year (ref: ACAS) that employers are losing through lost production, recruitment and absence. The Centre for Mental Health charity estimate that employers should be able to cut the cost of mental by about a third by improving their management of mental health at work.

According to, Ian White, head of employment at JMW, the law states that whilst an employee is not obligated to reveal mental health issues in the recruitment process, “the law… says that the primary responsibility of the welfare of the employee is on the employee themselves – they’re expected to take care of themselves and if they’re having problems, they should shout.”

So should you do when they do shout?
–    Treat any reports from employees seriously and respectfully.
–    Consider the culture of your organisation. Is it a culture of understanding and acceptance? If not, consider the training and guidance that can be given to staff and managers in particular.
–    Dr Jill Miller, a research adviser for the CIPD, says it is important to consider each individual’s needs. Gain as much clarity as possible about how the individual is affected, and how it can be triggered. From that you may be able to make reasonable adjustments such as changing working hours, or adjusting their job role.
–    Get help and advice from any of the following: –
Consult with organisations like ACAS, who have teamed up with the NHS’s Mindful Employer initiative, a leading authority on managing mental health at work, to develop a training package and the Advisory booklet – Promoting positive mental health at work, which is designed to help employers to:

  • Tackle the stigma around mental
  • Focus on the practical things you can do to help
  • Develop solutions by listening

 

Ref: ACAS & The Guardian

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