Mental Health and Disability At Work - A Manager’s Guide

“We need to move to a society where all of us become more aware of our own mental health and how to cope with our own and other people’s mental health when it fluctuates. It is all our responsibility to make this change. Employers can make the greatest impact. Stevenson-Farmer

The Stevenson-Farmer Review, commissioned by the Government, tells us that we are facing a ‘significant mental health challenge at work’ in the UK:

  • 300,000 people with long term mental health problems lose their jobs each year.
  • 15% of people at work have symptoms of an existing mental health condition.

This is resulting in great human cost and also impacts on the success of our businesses across industries – the annual cost to employers is between £33 billion and £42 billion. The report documents that over half of this cost comes from presenteeism. Lord Stevenson estimates that, ‘in the top hundred companies a quarter of those running them have, or have had, mental illnesses but few have openly acknowledged it.’

The programme detailed below is our response to this review and need within business to address this issue.

Aim
To explain what is expected of a manager working with an employee with a mental health condition or disability; including making reasonable adjustments and suggestions for good practice.
Objectives

By the end of this session, participants will:

  • have explored how mental health may be a disability at work with reference to the relevant definition;
  • be able to use a checklist of seven factors when deciding whether an adjustment for a mental health related disability at work is reasonable;
  • have seen how their suggestions to manage mental health conditions at work play out in practice by participating in “forum theatre” with professional actors [no role play required].

Example Session Outline

Introductions & objectives

Mental Health & Disability

  • increased focus on mental health at work
  • relevant definition of disability and how it applies to mental health in practice
  • stress as a disability
  • five key steps expected of managers

Forum theatre scenario: disclosure of learning disability after recruitment

Adjustments: Assessing Reasonableness

  • seven relevant factors
  • cost & sources of funding
  • operational impact of adjustments on colleagues
  • systematic, joined-up approach [with template checklist]
  • confidentiality & adjustments

Forum theatre scenario: managing challenging behaviour related to mental health
Breaks will be taken at convenient times.