Putting mental health on your agenda

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

One in four of us will experience poor mental health at some stage in our lives, so it’s likely that someone in your charity is affected.

Despite this, the Stevenson / Farmer review highlights that only 39% of organisations have policies which can support employees with common mental health conditions and only 24% of managers have received relevant training.

Here are some key steps all charity CEOs need to consider:   

Promote an open door policy

It’s important to create a workplace culture where an employee feels that they can come and talk to their manager without being ridiculed or subjected to unfair treatment.

Conduct return to work interviews

If an employee takes frequent, short-term absences, conduct return to work interview to explore the reasons for the absences. If there are signs that that they are suffering from a mental health condition, you can consider what practical steps can be taken to assist the employee.

Identify the signs

You should be having regular one to one meetings with your employees to see how they are. By doing this, you may be able to pinpoint some key red flags, for example, they are smoking more or they are making uncharacteristic mistakes.

There are not obvious warning signs for all conditions, which is why it’s important to have frequent meetings to detect any concerns. 

Tackle issues

You should talk to the employee in private, explaining what you have noticed and asking how they are feeling. This can help you understand what is going on and what the next appropriate steps are.

If they do reveal a mental health condition, you should delve into how the condition affects them and what adjustments you can provide to help them. It may be useful to create an action plan, which looks at what triggers the employee’s condition and how it can be minimised at work.

If they insist there is no problem, monitor the situation.

Remember the Equality Act!

If an employee is disabled under the Equality Act, employers are required to make reasonable adjustments to the worker’s working practices, policies and procedures. Contact the Ellis Whittam Legal Team to find out more.

Manage absences

If short term sickness evolves into longer term absence, it’s important to maintain regular contact with the employee to see their progress and whether there is anything you can do to assist them back to work. If a return does not look likely in the near future, plans can be made to put in place temporary cover.

Give training

Provide training to erode the stigma attached to mental health. 

To explore this further, call 0845 226 8393, ask for the Partnerships Legal Team and quote your ACEVO membership number.