Acas publishes guide on mental illness at work

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has published its first guide to tackle mental illness in the workplace.

Acas has compiled the guide with NHS agency Workways, which specialises in advising on mental ill health at work.

The guide shows employers and managers how to:

  • Spot the early signs of mental ill health.
  • Raise awareness of mental health issues among managers and staff.
  • Develop a culture where an employee feels comfortable disclosing their condition.
  • Approach an employee who may have a mental health condition.
  • Try to help them cope with it or overcome it so they can work effectively again.

John Taylor, chief executive at Acas, said: “The stumbling block at the moment is that many employers and managers shy away from dealing with mental illness at work because it can be hard to pin down and it is a very sensitive matter to deal with.

“People tend not to want to talk about mental illness because they think it is something disturbing that it is easier to avoid.

“But we all need to develop a new way of looking at mental health and break down the taboo. There needs to be a willingness to discuss mental health and a culture where employers understand it and try to help their employees recover from mental illness.

“An employer, by creating a supportive environment at work where people feel able to disclose their problems, can help them address their issues and remain productive at work.”

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