ACAS guidance on managing mental health at work

ACAS guidance on managing mental health at work

An estimated £30 billion a year is lost through production, recruitment and absence in relation to Mental Health issues. Despite one in four suffering, for most, it is still very difficult to talk about.


The stats – the importance of understanding and addressing Mental Health


A Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development study highlighted:


  • 37% of sufferers are more likely to get into conflict with colleagues
  • 57% find it harder to juggle multiple tasks
  • 80% find it difficult to concentrate
  • 62% take longer to do tasks
  • 50% are potentially less patient with customers/clients


ACAS help


The NHS’s Mindful Employer initiative and ACAS have worked together to develop a training package designed to help employers to:


  • Tackle the stigma – mental health rarely conforms to stereotypes
  • Focus on practical solutions – monitor workloads, employment involvement, the nature of working relationships
  • Develop solutions – showing empathy through listening


ACAS Guidance - what can an employer do to promote positive Mental Health at work?


Spot the signs
Increased unexplained absences or sick leave;
Poor performance or timekeeping;
Poor decision-making;
Lack of energy.
Step 1: Start by having an informal discussion to try to find the root cause.


Focus on what you can control Workload and work variety;
Quality of working relationships;
Increase employee confidence by listening;
Increase employee involvement in decision-making.
Step 2: Mental Health issues can be complex. Listen and help where you can.


Help employees to cope
Specialist medical treatment following diagnosis;
Managing interactions with colleagues and avoiding stress triggers;
Getting line management support/understanding;
Flexible working.
Step 3: Employer support can be invaluable.


Make Reasonable Adjustments
Step 4: Make adjustments where necessary. The Equality Act 2010 may mean there is a legal requirement to do so.


Keep educated
Education around Mental Health can help fight staff misconceptions about mental illness;
Try to keep up-to-date with sources of help, such as occupational health and charities.
Step 5: Education and raise awareness.


Keep talking
Keep in touch with employees while they are away;
Hold a return to work interview on their first day back;
Check how they are coping; d. Monitor their behaviour and performance.
Step 6: Maybe the most important step is to maintain that contact throughout, especially after absences.


ACAS training and support ACAS has a free e-learning module on ‘Mental Health Awareness for Employers’.


Brachers can help you with training to increase awareness and practice in this area. If you would like to talk to us about any of these issues, please contact Catherine Daw, Head of Employment on 01622 690691 or email at

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