New guides on mental wellbeing mark World Mental Health Day

Two new guides to help employers manage mental health in the workplace has been launched today by Acas and by The Royal College of Psychiatrists. Hundreds of thousands of workers experience mental health problems during the course of a year, yet a recent report by Business in the Community found only 11 per cent of people questioned felt able to disclose a mental wellbeing issue to their line manager while half of line managers said they would welcome training on the issue. With the theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, being mental health in the workplace; the Royal College of Psychiatrists has produced a pack of mental health information for employers and employees covering the most common range of conditions such as depression, anxiety, and sleeping problems.

Acas has published new advice as well to mark the day which includes spotting the signs of mental ill health; Talking to a team member that may be experiencing mental ill health; supporting a team member during periods of mental ill health; and helping a team member return to work.

The President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Professor Wendy Burn, said: “It makes sense for businesses to look after the mental health of their employees.

“It can make a real difference if they have the right information to hand, if they can say to an employee who is experiencing a mental health issue, ‘we understand’.

Acas has some top tips for managers about how best to have a conversation about mental health, which includes:

  • Move the conversation to a private space to prevent any disturbances;
  • Be open minded and be prepared for the unexpected;
  • Allow the employee as much time as they need; and
  • Think about potential solutions and adjourn the meeting if it is necessary to think through what has been discussed before making a decision.

Tom Neil, Head of Acas guidance, said: “Most managers are used to dealing with physical ill health but can be less confident on the best approach for handling mental ill health.

“With one in six workers experiencing mental health issues it makes sense for managers to have an understanding of the signs and approaches that can be taken.

“Our new guidance can help managers develop the rights skills to support individuals as well as creating a culture of wellbeing in their workplace.”

You can view the full new guidance www.acas.org.uk/managingmentalhealth and employers can find details of, and order copies of, the special information pack on the College’s website at www.rcpsych.ac.uk/employers

Acas has also updated its guide ‘Promoting positive mental health in the workplace’ available at www.acas.org.uk/mentalhealth

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