No employee with mental health issues will experience the same symptoms or require the same treatment. Therefore, there is not a one size fits all approach to managing employees suffering from mental health issues. It is becoming more significant for employers to make practical changes in support of these employees as you would do with an employee with a broken leg or arm. This is not a topic that can be ignored as it is estimated 91 million working days are lost each year due to mental health problems.
Research in this area shows that the wellness and recovery time of the individual will differ depending on how the Company responds, therefore if you take a pragmatic and supportive approach to making reasonable adjustments the employee is likely to return to work sooner than if you ignore the underlying issues.
You must remember as an Employer you have a legal obligation once aware of any health information to make reasonable adjustments to work when necessary. As well as making reasonable adjustments to the role itself to support the employee, there are further actions an employer can consider:
- Train and Introduce Mental Health First Aiders
- Introduce a Mental Health Policy
- Introduce a Support System Internally or Externally (EAP Scheme)
- Line Manager Training
As part of such training, it is important to ensure that managers treat mental health illness the same as any physical health illness. As such managers should continue to conduct;
- Return to work interviews
- Regular appraisals
- Provide training and support
Also, as part of any line manager training you will need learn how to have a conversation with the employee, in a way that supports them. We have developed some top tips to help you.
Finally, if you need any further support regarding an employee who is off work due to mental health illness, please get in touch with our team of advisors who can support you through the maze of health considerations in a pragmatic, logical and legally compliant way.
Agility are available by phone on 01527 571617 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org