“Workplaces are amongst the institutions that contribute to, and impact on, our mental health throughout our lives.” (ACAS Research Paper, 2016)
Many workplaces have recognised the benefits of supporting employee health and wellbeing; common initiatives include fruit for the office and discounted gym membership. Whilst these gestures convey values and support for a healthly workplace, managing employees’ mental health requires a more interpersonal response. As a line manager, your approach to understanding and managing mental health concerns is likely to be part of your remit. This may feel daunting but you are not alone and there is a lot of support available.
Management processes and considerations
Employee wellbeing and mental health needs to be considered as part of recruitment, induction, performance management, development, absence management and exiting. Without due consideration, there could be financial and legal consequences as well as lowering employee morale, which in turn may impact on organisational performance.
Often, line managers are unclear about issues such as writing an inclusive and non-discriminatory job description/person specification; legality of pre-employment health questionnaires; spotting signs of possible mental health concerns; making reasonable adjustments; how, what and when to talk about concerns; and how to support an employee with a phased return from long term absence.
Support and guidance
Within your organisation you may have help from Human Resources, Occupational Health and an Employee Assistance Provider. In addition, here are a few reading resources you may find helpful:
Health and Safety Executive