| Employment Law

Learn to manage employees with Mental Health issues

Recent statistics show that 1 in 6 employees suffer from Mental Health problems which impact small to medium businesses with loss of productivity, high staff turnover, long term sickness absences and performance issues. In fact, absenteeism costs UK businesses around £14 billion a year and mental health problems were a major contributing factor.

The most common occurrences of Mental Health problems are stress, anxiety and clinical depression, however dyslexia, PTSD and other mental disorders, such as bulimia are also forms of mental health conditions affecting employees at work.

Mental health at work will, at some point, impact your business.  So, here are 5 ways to help employees with Mental Health problems:

  • Know your employer obligations: you have an implied duty of care towards your employees as well as maintaining their health and safety at work.  You are responsible for managing your employees work related stress which can be triggered by factors such as, long hours, unreasonable deadlines, lack of control, changes in the business as well as people, within the working environment.
  • Being employee aware: Personal problems can also be an impact on a person’s mental health. By getting to know your employees, you can identify changes in their work and personality such as lateness, withdrawal, working long hours, frequent sickness absences and problems with other colleagues. You should aim to act quickly when you identify a trigger, that way you can talk to the employee, find out what is happening, discuss how it can be addressed and avoid escalation of the problem.
  • It’s good to talk: Employees and employers can feel uncomfortable talking about mental health. By encouraging people to talk and being open and willing to discuss mental health problems with your employees, helps create a positive environment. Having regular catch ups and listening to employees, will encourage them to talk about their mental health and what support they need if any.
  • Support: Every business is different and there is no one way to deal with mental health in the workplace. However, some mental health problems can be classified as a disability and reasonable adjustments should be considered when addressing an employee’s mental health problem.  Consider what is feasible and reasonable.  For example, reducing or changing hours, offer more time to complete projects, providing additional equipment to help them work and consider if you can change their workplace or working area.  By offering support you can help employees achieve better levels of productivity and reduce performance and absenteeism management.
  • Manage: There may still be occasions where mental health can impact the capability of an employee in their work. So, it is important that you have clear performance and absence management processes in place.  Whereby you would hold welfare meetings and get a medical or occupational report which you would pay for, consider adjustments, and aims of the process.  By following a fair process this will help you identify the problem, address the concerns and achieve a favourable outcome for all.

How can Hopkins help you? 

Our Employment Law Team offer support to local employers of all sizes. We will help you navigate your relationship with your employee at this difficult time.

We understand legal costs can be too much sometimes. Hopkins can provide guidance and advice where needed and we believe transparency is key so we can offer fixed fees for set pieces of work.

Alternatively we offer a very reasonably priced HopkinsHR employment support retainer package which is designed to give you certainty and peace of mind that your legal costs will never exceed an agreed annual fee. This will help you plan your HR budget accurately and significantly reduce your risk of unexpected expensive legal costs.

Contact us our Employment Law Team today on 01623 468 468 or 0115 910 5555.

We are here to help.


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