Looking after your employees' mental health at work

Monday 5th August 2019

There can be a lot of stigma surrounding the mental health of individuals, especially within the workplace.

The Employment Tribunal have recently argued that many employers’ responses to letters from their employees, raising mental health concerns are not acceptable. The case of Flemming v East of England Ambulance Services NHS Trust 2016 highlights this.

One in four people suffer with mental health conditions every year, yet 75% of these people receive no treatment. Every year it costs businesses around £1300.00 for each employee whose mental health needs are unsupported.

Managers within the workplace believe they are responsible for their employees’ well-being, however only 24% of those have received professional training on how to deal with mental health in the workplace.

Depression is the leading cause of disability globally according to the World Health Organisation and employees are protected against unfavourable treatment because of something arising in consequence of the employee’s disability. 

There are estimates that UK businesses can save up to £8 billion annually by implementing better mental well-being support in the workplace. Often things as simple as implementing flexible working arrangements and reduced workloads are helpful in reducing absence and stress levels. The offer of contemplation rooms, breaks or counselling programmes are also mentioned as being helpful.

Mental Health First Aid

Within the workplace, having someone trained to properly listen and understand, and to ask employees how they feel can make a massive difference in the management of a mental health condition and the day to day running of a company.

Licenced training is designed to raise awareness of mental health issues and reduce the stigma faced by those who experience them. It can provide practical skills, knowledge and confidence to recognise symptoms and help support employees towards the appropriate professional help.

From an employer’s point of view, this may be a step in the right direction as positive mental health allows people to realise their full potential, cope with any potential stresses at work and work productively, adding value to your team.

If you would like any further information on how to deal with mental health issues in the workplace, please contact our employment specialists.

Courtney Hawkins, Trainee Solicitor

Waldrons Solicitors