Mental health in work

Stigma and discrimination in work is a key issue for many employers and employees, for those trying to get a job and for people returning to work following a period of ill-health.  Find out more about creating a mentally healthy work environment.

A Mentally Healthy Workplace

While many organisations understand the impact of mental health in the workplace, it can be challenging to create a mentally healthy working environment. There is a strong business case for getting it right on mental health in work. Eliminating stigma and discrimination in work is key. It requires a joined up approach and a genuine commitment to support staff to make it okay to talk about mental health in work. There are a number of overlapping issues to consider.

Select each of the five circles to gain an understanding of what
you can do to make your workplace mentally healthy.

Senior Management

"Fostering a culture of openness encourages staff to support one another."

Senior Management

Leading by example, senior management should endorse policies, training, and foster a culture of openness about mental health issues. Reasonable adjustments by altering working conditions to help employees with a disability, including mental health problems is the law.

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Policy,
practice & law

"Focus on the needs of each person rather than on whether they have a disability."

Policy, practice & law

Employers have a legal and moral obligation to avoid discriminating against staff specifically because of their mental health. Reasonable adjustments by altering working conditions to help employees with a disability, including mental health problems is the law.

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Training of managers & staff

"Mental health awareness and management training should be a priority for all staff."

Training of managers & staff

Managers and staff need to know how to spot the signs of mental illness. Having confidence to open up a supportive conversation about mental health can stop stigma and discrimination before it starts.

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Understanding stigma

"Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect."

Understanding stigma

Stigma is where an employee (or potential employee) is perceived as being different because of their mental health problems. If they are treated differently, this may also be discrimination.

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Supportive staff & colleagues

"Communication, discussion and trust should be encouraged."

Supportive staff & colleagues

Asking people if they are okay is a great way to start supporting staff and colleagues in work. Recognise signs when people are struggling. Sometimes some 'time out' or a bit of flexibility is all that's needed.

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Healthy employees make for a healthy workplace

undefinedA mentally healthy workplace takes care of staff and nurtures a supportive environment for work. Everyone has a responsibility to look after themselves and others but the values and ethos must come from senior management - welcoming people with mental health problems and creating a culture that is inclusive and understanding of individual's needs. After all, at any one time one in four people will experience a mental health problem. Healthy employees make for a healthy workplace.

Creating the right culture involves many things but a good place to start is to make sure everybody in your workplace shares an equal understanding, awareness, sensitivity and respect of the importance of good mental health. By nurturing a mentally healthy environment attitudes and behaviour will change too - managers and staff will be in a better place to help and support anybody affected by mental health issues at work.

Taking steps to encourage employees to disclose symptoms and concerns will enable managers to respond effectively to health concerns of staff under their care. This will not only help staff cope and stay well in work, but hopefully also reduce the time off needed - increasing productivity and improving staff moral.

Click on the tabs below whether you are an employer or employee to find out more.

If you'd like more information, download our guide here:

Employers

It is crucial that leadership in promoting better mental health comes from the top – from key decision makers, whether they are the chief executive, board members or members of the senior management team.

Collectively or individually, they should foster a culture of openness that encourages staff to talk openly about mental health, ensure the development of the right policies to meet legal and moral obligations to look after staff, introduce the right training for managers and actively support mental health awareness initiatives. 

Signing up for the See Me in Work Programme offers further guidance and a structure of actions you can take to stamp out stigma and discrimination in your organisation.

A mentally healthy workplace will increase productivity, reduce absenteeism and save you money.

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Employees

Support for everyone in the workplace is a matter of encouraging and nurturing communication and discussion.

Our campaign  ‘the power of okay’ – is all about showing that mental health isn't something that we should avoid discussing.

We also have our Pass the Badge campaign, which you can do at your workplace, to get people talking about mental health.

Opening up a sensitive conversation can be tough.  You need to trust the person - whether a manager or colleague and have the confidence that you can talk about your problems without fear of being stigmatised or discriminated against.  You have legal rights within work and you are entitled to support so it's important that you understand your organisations policies, sources of support inside and outside work and how these might help you. 

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