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Mental health introduction image

Mental health

Good mental health and wellbeing helps everyone to thrive - especially in the workplace.

Sickness due to mental illness in the workplace costs employers between £33bn and £42bn a year. It is vital that we work together to support staff across all levels and areas within the workplace and address mental illness and promote good mental health. The following tools and advice will help you as an employer to support your staff.

The link between those businesses that encourage positive mental health and their business success, is well established so it is important to know what steps you can take to do this in your business. Mental ill-health can be one of the main reasons that we lose valuable staff to sickness absence and can even result in them leaving the workforce altogether. There are many reasons why mental wellbeing has become such an important topic for business owners, but encouraging a supportive and open workplace environment, where mental health can be discussed easily, is a great place to start.

As an employer there are some legal responsibilities in place to protect your staff, which you should be aware of but most of it is simply good practice and easy to do if you know how. Managing mental ill-health can feel a little daunting but there are some simple steps you can take to help you as a manager do this well so that you have the best outcome for you and your employee too.

Sometimes it’s difficult to know how to help someone in your workplace suffering from poor mental health. Many conditions have been treated as taboo for so long, that starting a conversation feels awkward and unfamiliar. Building a tool kit to support good mental health can help you to tap into the issues that affecting your staff the most.

Facilitate a workplace that supports mental health

  • Prioritise mental health in the workplace by developing and delivering a systematic programme of activity
  • Proactively ensure work design and organisational culture drive positive mental health outcomes
  • Promote an open culture around mental health
  • Increase organisational confidence and capability
  • Provide mental health tools and support
Download the checklist


What is mental health?

Mental health is the mental and emotional state in which we feel able to cope with the normal stresses of everyday life. Mental ill-health can range from feeling 'a bit down' to severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder as well as including more common disorders such as stress, anxiety and depression. Types of mental health problems - Mind

Is mental health considered a disability?

Under the Equality Act 2010, a person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. In order to be 'long-term', the adverse effect must have lasted (or be expected to last) for more than 12 months. A serious mental health issue will often constitute a disability, whether it is a long-standing problem or something that has been diagnosed recently. Some forms of mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia, depression obsessive-compulsive disorder and, are likely to be classed as a disability. Stress is now one of the most common reasons for absence from work, accounting for around half of all sickness absences, but it may or may not be a disability, depending on the circumstances.

What can managers do to help?

An employee's manager is too often unwilling to intrude into the employee's personal life but it is important to take action, particularly if there are concerns about the safety of the employee, their colleagues, or the public. Employers and managers can help by establishing a culture of openness and taking steps to promote mental wellbeing at work. All employers have a legal duty to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees. An employer should be carrying out risk assessments and managing activities to reduce the incidence of hazards.

How can I avoid discrimination?

Under the Equality Act 2010, employers must not treat a disabled person less favourably for a reason relating to their disability, without a justifiable reason. This means that an employer must not:

  • Refuse to employ someone because of a disability
  • Subject them to a detriment such as paying them less, offering them fewer hours of work
  • Refusing to send them on a training course or failing to promote them
  • Dismiss them without having a good reason and following the correct procedure
  • Allow a disabled employee to be bullied or harassed

Employers are also under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to support disabled employees at work. In the case of those with a mental illness, this could mean being more flexible around start times, reducing workload, moving the employee's workstation to somewhere quieter, allowing a phased return to work from sickness absence, transferring the employee to other duties or decreasing working hours. Reasonable adjustments should be discussed and agreed with the individual and employers should avoid making assumptions about the employee's illness or stereotyping the employee.

Resources for employers thumbnail image

Resources for employers


Acas works across the UK offering free support and impartial advice to employers and employees on many issues. This link will take you to its free resources for mental health support and advice.

Find out more

CIPD mental health fact sheet

This mental health factsheet gives an overview of mental health issues in the workplace. It provides guidance on supporting employees’ mental health at work, including spotting early signs of mental ill-health and training line managers. It emphasises the importance of making helpful adjustments at work and offers guidance on providing specialist help for employees who need it.

Find out more

Mental health at work

Mental health at work provides a range of free toolkits and resources across a range of mental health related topics as well as a range of case studies from employers.

Find out more


Mind offers support and information to anyone experiencing mental health difficulties. It works throughout the UK and the Hull and East Yorkshire areas.

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Federation of Small Businesses

Mind has released the following information in collaboration with Federation of Small Businesses to help employers support their workforce with early intervention and support.

Find out more

Mental health first aid

Just as you would know how to assist someone with first aid if they suffered an injury at work, having a mental health first aider is just as important to assist someone going through a crisis. A mental health first aider is trained to provide extra emotional and crisis support in a workplace setting.

Funded support is available in Hull and East Yorkshire via the Skills Support for the Workforce programme.

Find out more

Resources for staff thumbnail image

Resources for staff

Let’s Talk

Let’s Talk offers help with low mood, anxiety, sleep problems, stress, worry, low confidence and emotional problems.

You can self-refer via phone or book your assessment appointment online.

Tel: 01482 247 111 or text TALK to 61825

Find out more

Connect Well Hull

Offering advice and will help you to access support and guidance on a range of issues, including:

  • physical conditions or emotional difficulties
  • feel more linked in with your community
  • issues such as money, benefits or housing
  • get active and feel better

Tel: 01482 217670

Web: or email:

Hull & East Yorkshire Mind

Mind offers support and information to anyone experiencing mental health difficulties. It works throughout the UK and the Hull and East Yorkshire areas. Tel: 01482 240133 Web:

Andy's Man Club

Andy's Man Club provides a weekly talking group, a place for men to come together in a safe environment to talk about issues/problems they have faced or are currently facing. It meets every Monday at 7pm, except bank holidays at the The Airco Business Lounge, Hull, HU3 4DL.

Find out more

East Riding Health and Wellbeing

The website contains a survey to help you assess and cope with your stress level. Healthy Minds (

Healthy Minds Campaign Resources


Offering support to young people and those who work with them, YoungMinds is an online support resource. It is aimed at young people, parents and people working with young people, with toolkits and strategies to support teachers with mental health issues in schools.

Find out more

Combat Stress

Combat Stress provides a confidential mental health helpline for serving and ex-service men and women with PTSD, depression and anxiety disorders.
Phone: 0800 138 1619 (24 hours)


Togetherall offers online support for anyone in or related to someone in the armed forces. It provides a safe environment to chat through forums and online support available around the clock.

Find out more


This mental health tool is aimed at anyone in or who has left service. It provides advice and self-help coping mechanisms to manage the daily stresses of life and improve confidence and stress levels.

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Every Mind Matters

This government initiative has been launched through the NHS in response to the negative effect the pandemic has had on mental well-being of the workforce and the general population of the UK.

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Wellness Recovery Action Plan

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan® or WRAP®, is a self-designed prevention and wellness process that anyone can use to get well, stay well and make their life the way they want it to be.

Find out more