A culture of fear and silence around mental health can be costly to employers.
The charity Mind has undertaken research which indicates that more than one in five have agreed that they have called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress affected them. 13 % agreed that they had resigned and 42% had concerned resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them.
If an employee has a mental health issue, it is important that the employer takes it seriously to find out what support the individual may need at work. It could be a singular problem causing the issue or it could build up over time, the key to providing support is communication. It is helpful if employers can create an environment where employees are able to discuss their mental health. They could also consider creating a mental health strategy and directing employees who do not feel comfortable discussing the condition to a mental health helpline such as Mind or Samaritans.
Employers have a duty of care to employees and must do all that they reasonable can to support an employee’s health and wellbeing. This may include protecting employees from discrimination and carrying out risk assessments.
A mental health condition could be considered as a disability under the Equality Act 2010 if the condition has a substantial adverse effect on the life of an employee that affects their ability to do normal day-to-day activities and if it has, or is likely to last at least 12 months.
Employers must not discriminate against employees because of a disability and must consider making reasonable adjustments.
If you require any advice during this difficult time, pleas contact Harriet Gardner on 01302 341414.