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World Mental Health Day 2022

Taking place this year on Monday 10 October, World Mental Health Day aims to raise awareness of mental health issues globally and mobilise efforts in support of mental wellbeing.

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Published 10 October 2022

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  • Business
  • Services
  • Employment law for employers

In 2022, the theme for World Mental Health Day is Making Mental Health & Well-Being for All a Global Priority. As the world of work continues to evolve, bringing with it a new wave of pressures, supporting the mental wellbeing of staff should be a priority for employers.

Ever-increasing numbers of the working age population in Britain experience symptoms associated with mental health. Poor mental wellbeing can put huge financial pressure on employers through sickness absence and staff turnover.

Investing in staff wellbeing not only enhances the mental and physical health of workers but can also be good for business. A positive and inclusive work environment can reduce absenteeism, improve productivity, boost morale, and minimise conflict between colleagues.

A reminder of employers’ obligations

Employers have a duty to protect the health and wellbeing of their workers, including their mental health. Failing to abide by these duties leaves employers open to a number of risks:

  • A mental health condition can be a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. If so, employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for the employee.
  • An employer that contributes to or causes a mental health condition, for example through management style, risks breaching the implied duty of trust and confidence between employer and employee. If an employee resigns in response to this, they may be able to claim constructive unfair dismissal.
  • Employers are also subject to common law and statutory health and safety obligations which include ensuring the physical and mental welfare of employees.

What can employers do?

Employers should implement appropriate policies, training and behaviours to safeguard and promote employee mental health. Some practical steps to consider include:

  • Formulating a mental health policy setting out the company’s values and approach towards promoting employee wellbeing. Follow this up with clear guidance so that employees are aware of the support available.
  • Implementing initiatives to support employee mental health. This can include offering mindfulness sessions and creating an environment where staff feel able to talk openly about mental health, for example by providing access to confidential counselling.
  • Providing managers with mental health training so they can better identify problems and support employees.
  • Maintaining open channels of communication with employees to gather feedback and adapt policies accordingly, for example reviewing flexible working options or stress management training.

While World Mental Health Day provides a good opportunity to give these matters renewed attention, employers would be well advised to keep mental health high on their priority list year-round.

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Longer Reads

World Mental Health Day 2022

Taking place this year on Monday 10 October, World Mental Health Day aims to raise awareness of mental health issues globally and mobilise efforts in support of mental wellbeing.

Published 10 October 2022

Associated sectors / services

Authors

In 2022, the theme for World Mental Health Day is Making Mental Health & Well-Being for All a Global Priority. As the world of work continues to evolve, bringing with it a new wave of pressures, supporting the mental wellbeing of staff should be a priority for employers.

Ever-increasing numbers of the working age population in Britain experience symptoms associated with mental health. Poor mental wellbeing can put huge financial pressure on employers through sickness absence and staff turnover.

Investing in staff wellbeing not only enhances the mental and physical health of workers but can also be good for business. A positive and inclusive work environment can reduce absenteeism, improve productivity, boost morale, and minimise conflict between colleagues.

A reminder of employers’ obligations

Employers have a duty to protect the health and wellbeing of their workers, including their mental health. Failing to abide by these duties leaves employers open to a number of risks:

  • A mental health condition can be a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. If so, employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for the employee.
  • An employer that contributes to or causes a mental health condition, for example through management style, risks breaching the implied duty of trust and confidence between employer and employee. If an employee resigns in response to this, they may be able to claim constructive unfair dismissal.
  • Employers are also subject to common law and statutory health and safety obligations which include ensuring the physical and mental welfare of employees.

What can employers do?

Employers should implement appropriate policies, training and behaviours to safeguard and promote employee mental health. Some practical steps to consider include:

  • Formulating a mental health policy setting out the company’s values and approach towards promoting employee wellbeing. Follow this up with clear guidance so that employees are aware of the support available.
  • Implementing initiatives to support employee mental health. This can include offering mindfulness sessions and creating an environment where staff feel able to talk openly about mental health, for example by providing access to confidential counselling.
  • Providing managers with mental health training so they can better identify problems and support employees.
  • Maintaining open channels of communication with employees to gather feedback and adapt policies accordingly, for example reviewing flexible working options or stress management training.

While World Mental Health Day provides a good opportunity to give these matters renewed attention, employers would be well advised to keep mental health high on their priority list year-round.

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