Employers often say that they find the practical issues around physical disabilities much easier to cope with than the more emotionally supportive issues around helping employees with mental health issues. However, there is much to be said for making your workplace a good, supportive and safe environment for people with mental health issues.
Research commissioned by MIND found that:
- 1 in 5 people take a day off work due to stress
- 1 in 10 people have resigned a job due to stress, 1 in 4 have thought about it
- 19% of staff feel they can’t speak to managers about stress at work
- 25% of people surveyed considered resigning due to stress
- 56% of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance
Help is also available via Access to Work (delivered by Remploy) which can help someone develop a strategy to remain in work or return to work following a mental illness.
You could also consider becoming a Mindful Employer, which aims to increase awareness of mental health at work, and offers support to employers in recruiting and retaining staff where mental health might be an issue. They offer resources and training and also a Charter for Employers who are Positive about Mental Health.
Finally, the Business Disability Forum have produced a guide for line managers on this issue called Mental Health at Work, which answers those difficult questions that line managers can sometimes try to avoid.
It is said that 1 in 4 of us will have mental health challenges at some point in our lives, so this is not something we can hide away from. Employees who feel valued, and safe, and able to share their particular requirements, will be far more productive and may well avoid a crisis altogether.
There is some advice on how to deal with stress in the workplace here.
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