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Mental health in the workplace

Mental health is often thought of as a measure of unhappiness, imbalance or even mental illness. In fact, mental health is a measure of the state of our minds. It is a key determinant of the workplace environment as it impacts employee productivity, engagement and team relationships.

The Office for National Statistics found in a study that “Output per hour in the UK was 18 percentage points below the average for the rest of the major G7 advanced economies in 2014, the widest productivity gap since comparable estimates began in 1991."

Furthermore, every year, mental health issues will affect around one in four of us, and 55% - 70% of those with common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, are in work. Being able to relate to employees and talk about their wellbeing and mental health is an important step in retaining skilled and valued employees.

With the pandemic leading to many working from home, being furloughed or losing their jobs, isolation and anxiety has increased the number struggling with mental health issues. Therefore the issue should be at the top of the business agenda when looking at ways to improve employee wellbeing and business performance. 

What should employers be doing to support employees in the workplace?

There are a number of measures employers can put in place to improve the response to mental health issues. These include adopting a culture which promotes good mental health, introducing training which is supportive of that culture and ensuring policies promote equal opportunities and prevent bullying and harassment. Employers should also consider putting in place a “wellbeing” rather than a “stress” policy to encourage positive mental health.

How we can help

We are committed to supporting businesses achieve their goals. Detailed on this page are some in-depth insights and opinion pieces on the topic. In addition to recent public seminars and workshops, we are able to offer bespoke workshops. The training highlights legal and practical issues for employers dealing with mental health concerns and includes:

  • An overview of the law on discrimination, stress, bullying and harassment including claims, defences and compensation.
  • How to support long term home working and employee wellbeing.
  • Guidance on what policies and procedures to put in place.
  • The practical aspects covering tips and how to avoid pitfalls based on case examples.

Please contact Ben Smith or your usual Charles Russell Speechlys contact if you would like further information.

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