Government to support employers in managing mental health

The government plans to support employers in managing mental health issues in the workplace, particularly in helping affected employees return to work.

Its Closing the gap: priorities for essential change in mental health report outlines 25 areas for health and care services to take action to help tackle mental health conditions.

For employers, it will provide the support to promote workplace wellbeing to increase productivity and prevent the build-up of stress at work.

NHS England is working with the Department for Work and Pensions to identify best practice for employers, from recruitment and retention to reducing stigma, as well as in providing effective workplace support.

More information will also be made available to employers and line managers to help them better recognise the signs of stress and mental health problems and encourage them to talk about issues with staff.

Later this year the government will introduce an occupational health assessment and advice service to provide employers with the advice they need to help tackle long-term absence. This aims to provide advice to employers, employees and GPs, and offer return-to-work assessments.

Chris Jessop, managing director in the health services division at Axa PPP Healthcare, said: “This, once again, raises awareness for organisations to promote workplace wellbeing and mental health issues to get it back on the agenda of what they can do for their employees and the benefits they can provide.

“In order to support their employees, managers should be trained in identifying and understanding the symptoms of unmanageable stress and mental ill-health. 

“The introduction of best practice for employers for reducing stigma, providing effective support, increasing recruitment and retention is an excellent idea and one we would welcome sooner rather than later.”

Mental health charity Mind was selected as the charity for the Employee Benefits Awards 2014 by users of