New research shows over half of employees have experienced poor mental health at work

Business in the Community, in partnership with Action Mental Health, has launched a new Mental Health Toolkit for Line Managers to help support local employers to deal with mental health issues in the workplace.

The launch coincides with the publication of findings from the Mental Health at Work survey, commissioned by Business in the Community. The survey, which polled 20,000 people in work across the UK, revealed that 77% of employees polled have experienced poor mental health. 62% of employees have experienced poor mental health where work was a contributing factor, with 24% experiencing issues within the last month.

The toolkit is specifically designed for managers. Its benefits are three-fold. Firstly, it will give managers greater confidence in recognising the signs of mental ill-health among colleagues. Secondly, it will give guidance on the appropriate help they can offer employees who are absent from work due to mental ill-health, and how to support them upon their return. And thirdly, it aims to promote an open workplace culture where people feel comfortable talking about their mental health.

Speaking at the launch at Action Mental Health Works in Antrim, Amy Kieran, Workplace Programme Manager at Business in the Community said: “The results of our Mental Health at Work Survey are startling, with three quarters of all employees suffering from mental ill health at some point in their lives. Whilst employers are conscious that they have a duty of care to their employees, this tends to be a sensitive subject, and many managers are still unsure how best to deal with the issue in the workplace. Our findings showed that three quarters (76%) of managers polled believe that staff wellbeing is their responsibility, yet 80% said organisational barriers prevent them from delivering on this.

“This toolkit reflects our continued commitment to addressing mental health within the workplace, ensuring that it is treated with as equal importance as physical health. This toolkit will be a valuable resource for managers, giving them practical advice and guidance to feel confident and comfortable when supporting colleagues through all stages of mental illness – before diagnosis, during a period of absence, and upon return to the workplace.”

Grainne O’Kane from Firstsource Solutions was part of a group of senior HR professionals involved in the production of the Mental Health Toolkit for Managers, which has been successfully rolled out within the organisation. Grainne commented: “Having acknowledged that the root cause of much of our absence was due to mental health related issues, we decided to address this through the support of Business in the Community and Action Mental Health. Our team leaders have since been trained to identify and support not only our employees who may need support, but also family and friends. In turn, we have noticed a direct improvement in our absence and attrition levels. ”

The Mental Health Toolkit for Line Managers is a free resource which is available to all Business in the Community members. To download a copy, click here.

For more information, please contact amy.kieran@bitcni.org.uk or call (028) 9046 0606.