The HSE has updated its guidance on mental health in the workplace, setting out the roles and responsibilities of employers to help their employees. The guidance contains various links to supporting materials. The HSE says that employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by doing a risk assessment and acting on it.
See the HSE’s webpage on work-related stress for more details.
On 8th October 2018, the business-led charity; Business in the Community published its Mental Health at Work Report – 2018. It says that, while the Government and others are putting in more resources and developing new initiatives, businesses have the opportunity to step up and make direct changes to the way they think about and tackle mental health issues, starting with the core and enhanced standards outlined in the Stevenson/Farmer review
Introducing the mental health core standards
All employers can and should:
- Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan that promotes good mental health of all employees and outlines the support available for those who may need it
- Develop mental health awareness among employees by making information, tools and support accessible
- Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling, during the recruitment process and at regular intervals throughout employment, offer appropriate workplace adjustments to employees who require them
- Provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work-life balance and opportunities for development
- Promote effective people management to ensure all employees have a regular conversation about their health and well-being with their line manager, supervisor or organisational leader and train and support line managers and supervisors in effective management practices
- Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing by understanding available data, talking to employees, and understanding risk factors
Introducing the mental health enhanced standards
A llong-term ambition is that many employers can and will go beyond the mental health core standards. Employers of 500+ employees can and should:
- Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting, to include a leadership commitment and outline of the organisation’s approach to mental health
- Demonstrate accountability by nominating a health and wellbeing lead at Board or Senior Leadership level, with clear reporting duties and responsibilities
- Improve the disclosure process to encourage openness during recruitment and throughout, ensuring employees are aware of why the information is needed and make sure the right support is in place to facilitate a good employer response following disclosure
- Ensure provision of tailored in-house mental health support and signposting to clinical help, including digital support, employer-purchased Occupational Health or Employee Assistance Programmes, or NHS services, amongst other sources of support
Larger employers also have significant influence through their supply chains, customers and contractors, and can use this influence to encourage and support smaller employers to implement the mental health core standards, as well as sharing resources and knowledge.
Many smaller employers will also aspire to, or be able to implement, the enhanced standards.
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