Mental Health at Work

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Mental Health at Work

This year the new NHS digital report found that: -

  • nearly 1/3 of all fit notes are issued to workers based on poor mental health;

  • there has been a 14% increase in fit notes for stress and anxiety between 2016 and 2017; and

  • there has been a tendency for longer periods of absence in this regard, with 21.5% being for longer than 12 weeks.

On world mental health day 2017 Acas issued a step-by-step guide on promoting positive mental health in the UK: - http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/o/7/Promoting-positive-mental-health-in-the-workplace.pdf

Following this, a review “Thriving at Work” was published yesterday which addresses how employers can better support the mental health of their employees.

The review defined “mental health at work” as any mental health problem at work caused not just by work, but any mental health problems which are brought to, and experienced at, work.

The paper uses green shots of good practice, to set out a number of mental health core standards that can be adopted across all workplaces at little or no cost. The paper contains 40 recommendations for change encouraged by increasing employer transparency – not only internally to their employees, but also across industries and through the public domain.

Recommendations for all employers are as follows: -

  • Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan;

  • Develop mental health awareness among employees;

  • Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling;

  • Provide employees with good working conditions;

  • Promote effective people management; and

  • Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.

Further, it is recommended that public sector employers and the 3,500 private sector companies with more than 500 employees, deliver the following mental health enhanced standards which will reach 46% of employees:

  • Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting;

  • Demonstrate accountability;

  • Improve the disclosure process; and

  • Ensure provision of tailored in-house mental health support and signposting to clinical help.

With these recommendations in mind (amongst others), the vision is that in ten years’ time we dramatically reduce the proportion of people with a long term mental health condition who leave employment each year and ensure that all, who can, benefit from “good work” which contributes positively to their mental health.

For the full review by Stevenson and Farmer, see:- https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/654514/thriving-at-work-stevenson-farmer-review.pdf

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