Mental Health in the Workplace

Support for employees

Mental health problems like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder do not need to stop you from working. With the right support and the right job people with mental health problems perform vital roles in workplaces across the UK.

Why work?

Work can provide identity, friendship, a steady routine and a salary. Some people thrive in a busy environment and enjoy working to ambitious targets, other people see their job as a means to an end. Where ever you sit on this scale it is important that the balance between your work and your home-life feels right for you.

When people feel under pressure at work it can lead to stress and anxiety. A short period of stress on its own is not likely to be considered a disability under law, but prolonged stress can become more serious and make existing mental health problems worse. It is in the best interests of employers and employees to avoid this situation, and create mentally healthy workplaces that are free from discrimination where well-being is a priority.

Workplace adjustments

Adjustments for mental health are generally simple, practical and cost-effective.

This is not an exhaustive list – employers should explore with the individual their specific needs and be as creative as possible when thinking about how to address these issues.

  • Change of workspace – e.g. quieter, more/ less busy, dividing screens
  • Working from home (although it’s important to have regular phone catch ups so people remain connected and don’t feel isolated)
  • Changes to break times
  • Provision of quiet rooms
  • Return-to-work policies e.g. phased return – reduced hours gradually building up
  • Agreement to give an employee leave at short notice and time off for appointments related to their mental health, such as therapy and counselling.
  • Reallocation of some tasks or changes to people’s job description and duties
  • Training and support to apply for vacancies and secondments in other departments
  • Increased supervision or support from manager. For example, some people can take on too much so may need their manager to monitor their workload to prevent this and ensure they’re working sensible hours
  • Extra training, coaching or mentoring
  • Extra help with managing and negotiating workload
  • More positive and constructive feedback
  • Debriefing sessions after difficult calls, customers or tasks
  • Mentor or ‘buddy’ systems (formal or informal)
  • Mental health support group or disability network group
  • Identifying a ‘safe space’ in the workplace where the person can have some time out, contact their buddy or other sources of support and access self-help
  • Encourage people to work on building up their resilience and doing things that support good mental health such as exercise, meditation or eating healthily
  • Provide regular opportunities to discuss, review and reflect on people’s positive achievements – this can help people to build up positive self-esteem and develop skills to better manage their triggers for poor mental health.

Remember if you are having difficulty at work there are people you can talk to, if you need help ask for it because no one expects you to pretend everything is okay when it’s not.

If we can help with your projects, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01952 581340.


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