Where to start with the issue of mental health in the workplace? 
 
A report produced for the Commons Library on 13th December 2021 highlights the extent of the rise in cases of poor mental health in England. 
 
• In 2020/21 the NHS spent £14.3 billion on mental health services which is almost 15% of its local funding allocation. 
 
• In the same period 2 million adults accessed mental health services 
 
• Waiting times in England remain a postcode lottery with waiting times varying from 4 days to 86 days 
 
• Shockingly 1 in 6 adults have experience a CMD (Common Mental Disorder) in the last week. 
 
Thinking about the team you are working with today, name 6 people who you know, look around your family and think of 6 names, one of them will be suffering silently with a mental health issue! 
 
These are dreadful statistics and especially when the research shows that two thirds of respondent’s experience improvements after IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) but again this can very depending on where you live. 
What is the definition of Mental Health in the workplace? 
 
The ACAS website provides a helpful definition and gives employers details of their legal responsibilities. 
 
Here they describe the most common mental health issues: 
 
• Stress (although this is not a medical condition it can have an impact on a person’s ability to work and can have both short- and long-term impacts on their job) 
 
• Depression 
 
• Anxiety 
 
Have you correctly risk assessed the mental health wellbeing of your employees? 
 
Employers have a duty of care under the Equality Act 2020 not to discriminate against a disability and a mental health issue may be a disability when it lasts for at least 12 months and has a substantial adverse effect on the employee’s ability to carry out their tasks. 
Have you started the conversation in the workplace about mental health? 
 
We already know the benefits of an open culture where a team member can talk about challenges in the workplace but are you creating an environment where it is safe to discuss mental health and all its facets. 
 
A company's most important resource is its people and mental health awareness should be as important as protection a persons physical health. 
 
Here are a few top tips to creating an open culture where mental health can be discussed 
 
1. If you are the leader of the business – make it a number one priority to find out about the mental health of your staff and publish how you are going to do that. 
 
2. Create an environment where sharing mental health issues is welcomed and there are places and mental health champions to speak to. 
 
3. Provide mental health first aid training to your staff. 
 
4. Revisit your policy documents, do you have an up-to-date mental health policy, have you revisited it since Covid and are the additional plans to keep connected to your staff who now work from home? 
 
5. Do you have an education programme to help your team understand how to identify stress? Create a training plan that gives them the personal tools and strategies to overcome these challenges and build personal resilience. 
 
Average waiting time to access treatment have increased and the time between the first and second appointments are now up to approximately 7 weeks, this potentially could be time away from the office or business. 
 
Tackling mental health in the workplace should be an employers no 1 priority, having a proactive plan will help reduce absenteeism, improve wellbeing and contribute to improved moral at work. 
 
To find out about our training course at Stress Boffin please call and speak with us today, we can provide both online training and training in your work place. 
 
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