Employers are urged to put mental health high on their agenda in 2017

We are urging employers to put mental health high on their agenda, along with our associated HR consultancy, Kent HR, which specialise in employment and HR matters and are co-sponsors of the 2017 Wellbeing Symposium.


It follows the recent announcement from Theresa May of plans to “transform” attitudes to mental health and statistics from a recent study published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development which highlighted that:
 

  • 37% of mental health 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


The study indicates that mental illness is the largest single cause of disability in the UK. Catherine Daw, partner and head of employment at Brachers said:


“Employees can feel that their work contributes to, and impacts on, their mental health and statistics show that every year, three in ten employees experience mental health problems. Unfortunately, the complexity, diversity and range of root causes can make management of mental health at work difficult. It is nevertheless important that employers do take steps to support their employees; the Centre for Mental Health estimates that 91 million days are lost each year due to mental health problems with the total cost to employers estimated at nearly £26 billion each year. That is equivalent to £1,035 for every employee in the UK workforce”.


Veronica Fox, HR Consultant, Kent HR advises there are positive steps that employers can take:


“Employers should try to spot the signs of mental illness. These might include increased unexplained absences or sick leave, poor performance or timekeeping, poor decision-making, lack of energy and uncommunicative or altered behaviour”.


Brachers and Kent HR, who are co-sponsoring of The Wellbeing Symposium on 22 February in its bid to help raise awareness of wellbeing in the workplace, recommend employers start by having an informal discussion to try to find the root cause or, if the employee is returning from sickness absence, hold a ‘return to work discussion’. There will be many factors affecting mental illness which an employer cannot control so Brachers and Kent HR recommend employers focus on what they can control. This might include:
 

  • adjusting workloads or duties;
  • giving some flexibility in working arrangements (possibly for a short period);
  • taking steps to improve the quality of working relationships; and
  • increasing awareness of mental health issues amongst line managers and increasing employee involvement in decision-making.


Under the Equality Act 2010 employers might legally be required to make reasonable adjustments; for example, an employee might require specialist medical treatment following diagnosis and employers should make reasonable provision for the employee to attend appointments”.


We join Kent HR, KIMS Hospital, Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent County Council, Wellbeing People, C3 Collaborating For Health, Mytimeactive and Golding Homes as sponsors of the 2017 Wellbeing Symposium.


Visit the Wellbeing Symposium to find out more about this year’s event including the 2017 speaker line-up, how to book tickets and make nominations for the inaugural Inspiring Wellbeing Awards

 

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