Workplace experts, Acas, have today launched new guidance to help employers manage mental health in the workplace.

A recent report by Business in the Community, 'Mental Health at Work Report', found only 11 per cent of people questioned felt able to disclose a mental health issue to their line manager while half of line managers said they would welcome training on the issue.

Tom Neil, Head of Acas guidance, said:

Most managers are used to dealing with physical ill health but can be less confident on the best approach for handling mental ill health.

With one in six workers experiencing mental health issues it makes sense for managers to have an understanding of the signs and approaches that can be taken.

Our new guidance can help managers develop the rights skills to support individuals as well as creating a culture of wellbeing in their workplace.

The new Acas guidance includes advice on:

  • Spotting the signs of mental ill health;
  • Talking to a team member that may be experiencing mental ill health;
  • Supporting a team member during periods of mental ill health; and
  • Helping a team member return to work.

Acas has some top tips for managers about how best to have a conversation about mental health, which includes:

  • Move the conversation to a private space to prevent any disturbances;
  • Be open minded and be prepared for the unexpected;
  • Allow the employee as much time as they need; and
  • Think about potential solutions and adjourn the meeting if it is necessary to think through what has been discussed before making a decision.

Acas has also updated its guide 'Promoting positive mental health in the workplace'.

About Acas: It stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. We support good relationships between employers and employees which underpin business success. We also provide good value, high quality training and tailored advice to employers. Our expertise is based on millions of contacts with employers and employees each year. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law. 

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