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Tips for managers on mental health for staff

An employment expert at Napthens solicitors is offering some top tips on how line managers can help their staff.

Kimberley Barrett St.Vall, partner in the Employment & HR team at regional firm Napthens, reports that mental health is a big concern for employers.

Research from the Mental Health Foundation found that only a small minority of people report living with high levels of good mental health.

Meanwhile, the CIPD’s latest absence management survey reports that stress and mental health issues are among the biggest causes of absence from work. Mental Health Awareness Week also took place earlier this year.

Kimberley said: “We know that line managers can often struggle with knowing when and how to talk about mental health with their teams, whether an employee is off work, returning or perhaps asking for adjustments to their job or workplace to support their mental wellbeing.

“It’s important to remember than line managers don’t have to be experts in someone’s mental wellbeing at work; it’s more important that they are able to recognise early warning signs for those who may need support – some don’t.

“Some top tips would include get talking at the outset of the issue, return to work meetings can be particularly useful, and to act fast. Having regular contact can prove difficult, especially when someone is absent from work, and agreeing a way forward early on can make a big difference.

“Do some research and ask for support if you need it. It can be helpful to do some basic research to support a line manager’s understanding of an issue.

“There are many good online sources of advice and support for managers to draw on, and they may have access to an employee assistance programme or the opportunity to refer an employee for counselling support.

“Mental wellbeing can be one of the trickiest issues to identify, and even harder to resolve. We know that conversations can play a big part in moving forwards, and help ensure everyone can thrive in a workplace.”

Contact the Employment & HR team for further advice.

Kimberley Barret, employment lawyer