The government has committed to trying to improve mental health among the working population and promised to continue the debate with those calling for changes to Health and Safety legislation to cover mental health at work as well as the current duty to protect physical health. Employers can take steps to encourage an open culture that enables those with mental health problems to talk about them. A range of measures can help build resilience, which could help prevent work related stress and anxiety. Training Managers to be able to spot signs of a mental health problem is key to ensuring an early intervention and support.
Mental Health First Aid England can provide training on how to support those with mental health problems in the workplace.
Signs of a mental health problem – key questions for management
Is the employee:
- Arriving late or leaving early?
- Are they missing deadlines?
- Are they in work but not really getting much done?
- Has the quality of their work deteriorated?
- Are they losing their sense of humour?
- Are they withdrawn? Or easily irritated?
- Do they become tearful?
- Do they seem themselves?
What should an employer do?
The short answer is act sooner rather than later. Providing support for an employee who is clearly struggling to cope whether the issue is work related or a reactive situation or a long term mental health illness can prevent them deteriorating or taking long term sick leave.
Advice from an Occupational Health Specialist…….
This is where advice from an Occupational Health Specialist is invaluable. The majority of management referrals we receive are for employees with a mental health problem. The health assessment process will help identify the onset of symptoms, the background and past history of illness- including influencing factors and triggers, current treatment and prognosis.
We will provide a written report within two days containing clear advice assisting the manager by providing:
- An opinion on fitness to work and rehabilitation
- A plan advising on the provisions of Equality Act where reasonable adjustments may need to be considered
- Identification of key triggers and influencing factors
- Interpretation of medical information
- Support for the employee
We can provide ad hoc services from our Woking offices and offer:
- Face to face appointments usually within two days of receiving the referral at our Woking offices with a qualified and experienced Occupational Health professional
- An appointment arranged at your offices
- A telephone consultation where appropriate