A practical guide for line managers who support staff with mental health conditions

shutterstock_62103313 frustrated businesswoman

Stress, anxiety and depression cause more working days lost than any other health problem. The financial cost to British business of mental ill health is an estimated £26 billion per year – that’s equivalent to £1,035 for every employee – and some place it as high as £40 billion.

This new guide published by Devon Partnership NHS Trust provides practical information and guidance on how to support staff who experience stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health conditions.

The guide covers topics such as:

  • Mental health conditions and recovery
  • Mentally healthy workplaces
  • The importance of talking in the workplace
  • Keeping in touch during sickness absence
  • Planning a return to work and reasonable adjustments
  • Sources of other information, help and training

The report foreword sets out the context for this work:

This guide comes out of a respected collaboration between employers in the public, private and voluntary sectors and an NHS vocational service. It is a further step to achieving openness in recognising and responding to the needs of people at work who bear the burden and threats of a mental health condition.

Despite the common experience of mental health problems, people are reluctant to admit them. A fear of stigmatisation and discrimination often means that working people hesitate to look for support from their employer and, most importantly, from their line manager. Yet these are the people who are best placed to recognise workplace factors that influence mental wellbeing and in a position to give the support and take the action necessary to enable recovery.

Mindful Employer – Line Managers’ Resource: A practical guide to supporting staff with a mental health condition (PDF). Mindful Employer, Devon Partnership NHS Trust 2011.

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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