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Supporting employee mental health

Author: Sarah Silcox

Contributing authors: Dr Barbara Mariposa and Emma Mamo


  • Failing to manage employees' mental health can cause a number of organisational problems, for example sickness absence, poor employee morale and reduced productivity. (See The business case for managing mental health at work)
  • It is important for employers to understand the issues surrounding mental ill health before taking steps to deal with it. (See Understanding mental ill health)
  • Employers' strategic framework for managing mental health at work should include a mental health policy that links to their other relevant policies and procedures, for example those relating to stress management, recruitment, absence management and flexible working. (See Mental health strategy and policy)
  • Employers have an important role to play in tackling the stigma attached to mental health in the workforce by raising awareness and understanding of the issues among employees. (See Promoting understanding about mental health)
  • Line managers play a key role in supporting employees who have a mental health condition, and employer should make sure that they provide comprehensive guidance and training for managers on how to do this effectively and with confidence. (See The role of line managers in supporting mental wellbeing and Training line managers)
  • Recruitment is one of the key areas where there is potential for employers to discriminate against individuals with a mental health condition, and organisations should make sure that they have a good understanding of disability discrimination law. (See Mental health and recruitment)
  • Employers should be aware of the therapies that are available for employees experiencing a mental health problem, and ensure that this information is available to managers and employees. (See Therapies available for people with a mental health condition)
  • Employees experiencing a mental health problem can be reluctant to disclose that they have a condition, so it is important that line managers encourage disclosure in a sensitive way. (See Encouraging disclosure about a mental health condition)
  • Absence management policies and procedures relating to mental ill health need to support the timely referral of employees to specialist help where appropriate. (See Making timely referrals to occupational health)
  • Maintaining regular contact can help to prevent individuals on long-term absence through mental ill health from feeling isolated, and the development of an action plan will be essential for an effective return to work. (See Supporting employees taking absence related to mental ill health)