World Mental Health Day is on 10th October 2018. This day is used to help raise mental health awareness and to show support for those suffering from mental health illness.

The HSE highlighted that one in four people within the UK will suffer from mental health illness at some points in their lives, which means that most employers will have an employee suffering from such an illness at some time. The illness could be caused by a personal event, such as a bereavement, it may be a pre-existing condition, or more concerning for the employer, is that it may be caused by work. Work related stress is the most common work related illness and can be caused by the number of hours worked, amount of work or relationships with management or colleagues.

Research has highlighted that the following factors may indicate that the employee is suffering from stress:
• Lateness;
• High levels of absence;
• Emotional;
• Lack of interest and motivation at work;
• Withdrawn.

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to tell that there is an issue and you may only find out when the employee goes off sick. Therefore, to encourage employees to tell you of any issues as soon as possible you should ensure that you offer a supportive and open environment. If an employee does inform you of their illness you should be supportive and discuss how you can help them within the workplace.

Adjustments may be required to their role and could include a change to the hours they work, removal of some of their work, allowing them to work from home occasionally, changing their line management if it is caused by difficulties with management and possibly seating them elsewhere.

Ideally, managers should be trained in how to notice and address employees with mental health issues and to support this a member of management could be trained as a mental health first aider. The mental health first aider would then be the first port of call for the employee.

Depending on the severity of their illness the employee may be considered to be disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. If it is a disability you need to ensure that you make reasonable adjustments as required and do not treat them any less favourably.

If you have concerns about any of your employees please speak to a member of our team on 01483 411 533.