CIPD and Mind Publish Guide to Mental Health for Line Managers

CIPD and Mind Publish Guide to Mental Health for Line Managers

The CIPD and UK mental health charity Mind issued a new resource this week, the People Managers’ Guide to Mental Health, to help managers better identify and address mental health issues in the workplace, People Management reported on Wednesday:

Among the publication’s suggestions were using regular catch-ups and supervised meetings to monitor staff wellbeing and being alert to potential workplace triggers for distress, such as long hours or unmanageable workloads. The report also recommended businesses work to address the stigma still attached to mental health and encourage people to talk openly about their needs. The publication stressed that managers must be prepared to broach important dialogues and offer support. …

Following a disclosure of mental ill-health at work, managers should be prepared to make reasonable adjustments – such as relaxing requirements to work set hours in favour of flexible working, giving employees time off for appointments related to their mental health, such as therapy or counselling, and increasing one-to-one supervisions with staff.

The guide is written for readers in the UK and refers to some laws, regulations, and conventions specific to that country, but the bulk of its advice is applicable to managers anywhere. Research conducted last year by the UK health provider Bupa found that more than one in three line managers would have difficulty identifying mental health problems among their staff, while 30 per cent would not know what to do if a member of their team had a mental health problem.

Surveys over the past few years have shown that mental health issues have been taking a significant toll on the UK workplace. In a 44,000-person survey released by Mind earlier this month, 48 per cent of respondents said they had experienced a mental health problem in their current job, but only half of those who had experienced poor mental health had discussed it with their employer.

Mental health also contributes to absenteeism: A study published this month by NHS Digital showed that mental and behavioral health problems accounted for nearly a third of all fit notes issued in England since late 2014. Another new survey of full-time UK employees from BHSF Occupational Health, reported at People Management, found that workers often call in sick and claim to be physically ill when in fact it is their mental health that is suffering: 42 percent of respondents who had called in sick to work said they had done so to mask a mental health issue. Overall, 25 per cent of those surveyed reported suffering from depression, 36 per cent from anxiety, and 56 per cent from stress.

Our research at Gartner has found that the most effective approach to employee wellbeing encompasses both physical and emotional, as financial, wellbeing: a program that covers all three of these needs has a 33 percent greater impact on engagement than one that covers only physical wellbeing. Gartner and other organizations that have studied mental health in the workplace have also identified a clear relationship between stress and mental illness and employees’ physical health.

Gartner Total Rewards Leadership Council members can find all our wellbeing research and tools here.