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Supporting Mental Health at work

View profile for Stephen Gerring
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Supporting Mental Health at work

What do you do if you’re faced with an employee who is struggling with their mental health?

From time to time we all need help dealing with issues that might seem too much to cope with – whether they’re personal or professional.

Talking with a trusted work colleague or friend can really make a difference to a person’s well-being if they can listen without being judged. Listening isn’t as simple as you may think and Managers may feel the need to provide instructions, or worse take inappropriate action to manage the perceived risk to the business.

Employers have a moral and legal duty to care for their employees and mental health is just another facet of this duty to care.

An employer’s duty of care manifests itself in many different ways but it has never been more important for employers, managers and HR professionals to know how to effectively manage and support employees with ill mental health in the workplace.

Staggering figures show that in 2018/19, stress, depression or anxiety were responsible for 44% of all cases of work-related ill health and 54% of all working days lost due to health issues in Great Britain.

Despite increased awareness of mental health at work, employers have a growing lack of confidence in discussing mental health matters with their employees. 69% of UK line managers say that supporting employee wellbeing is a core skill, but only 13% have received mental health training.

Supporting positive mental health at work

We’ve put together some simple ideas on how to let your employees know that your business is ready and willing to support and promote strong, mental health:

  • Ensure that all employees are aware of the policies and support available for mental health and if you don’t have a policy in place, implement one, even if it’s very simple.
  • Encourage managers, team leaders or HR to schedule casual, one-to-one meetings with employees every quarter, in order to check in on how they are finding their work-life and everyday tasks, as well as their work-life balance and how they are generally.
  • Offer flexible working, where possible. Whether this is flexi-time, giving employees the choice to work from home, work outdoors, in chill out areas, etc.
  • Increase training for managers and line managers on how to support their teams.
  • Offer training for employees to become mental health first aiders.
  • Encourage increased conversations about mental health with the aim of de-stigmatising it.
  • Where appropriate, involve staff in making internal decisions.
  • Encourage camaraderie amongst your workforce, be that Friday treats, monthly socials or healthy, non-work-related competition

There isn’t a one-size fits all approach to mental health, people all have their own struggles, stresses and triggers and ability to cope. Employers will need to be particularly vigilant and spot issues early, identify possible causes and support their employees but also their business.

We can provide assistance with the development of a workplace mental health policy, mental health first aid training and supporting your managers with the management of mental health in the workplace – we’re here to help.

Support with mental health

If you’re struggling with your own mental health, there’s plenty of help available:

If you need urgent help the NHS urgent mental health hotline is available in your local area.


Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)


Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

Men's Health Forum

24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.


Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.

Text: 85258 

We're here to support your business and are able to offer mental health first aid training 

Call 01622 759 900 or email for more information.