With Mental Health Awareness Week shortly drawing to a close, we thought it would be a good opportunity to explore some of the things that employers can do in the workplace:

  • Ensure there is an openness to discuss mental health issues – there can still be a certain stigma attached to it for many people.
  • Avoid a culture of presenteeism – coming to work when unwell could only make matters worse.
  • Introduce a Stress At Work Policy - set out your commitment to mental well being at work, describe the steps the organisation takes to protect mental health and give details on how to deal with problems that arise (for example where to report it and how to get support).
  • Give training - especially to line managers so that early signs of mental health issues can be spotted and addressed.
  • Be proactive - try and resolve issues before they develop into something more serious.
  • Remember that managers can be a source of stress themselves - avoid unreasonable demands and address poor relationships.
  • Offer support – things like employee assistance programmes and counselling can be useful. Also think about flexible work options or improvements to work life balance.
  • Hold a return to work interview - this can be particularly useful following a period of long term sick leave but also when there have been lots of short term absences.
  • Undertake a risk assessment - identify risk areas and think about how to address them. A stress audit and staff survey can help to show up areas of concern.