Mental health in the workplace

Mental health problems are a leading cause of sickness absence in the workplace. Stress, anxiety and depression are among the main causes of long-term absence of 20 days or more from work (CBI, 2011). Recent estimates suggest that in the UK:

  • 15% of people at work experience symptoms of an existing mental health condition
  • 13% of all sickness absence days is due to mental health problems
  • Women in full-time employment are almost twice as likely to have a common mental health condition, such as anxiety and depression, as men (20% vs 11%)

(Source: Mental Health Foundation)

The prevalence of mental health problems in the workplace and their contribution to the significant and escalating costs of sickness absence, presenteeism (reduction in productivity as a consequence of an employee working while unwell), and staff turnover make a compelling case for interventions to help employees address their difficulties and thus enhance their general wellbeing and functioning at work.

Investing in employee mental health and wellbeing as an asset to the organisation helps businesses achieve their aims and strategic outcomes.

Psychological support

Early and effective psychological interventions such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Brief Solution-Focused interventions can help to ensure that short-term problems do not deteriorate and become more debilitating over time, resulting in employees taking time off work and indeed prolonged sickness absence. Successful interventions are dependent on a number of factors such as the severity of the individual’s problems, their level of motivation and the level of social and workplace support available to them.

It is important to take these considerations into account during the initial screening and assessment of employee to ensure their suitability for psychological support and to facilitate the treatment planning process. This best achieved by:

  1. Accurate assessment of the individual’s problems
  2. Agreeing treatment goals and employee/employer expectations regarding retuning to work (where relevant)
  3. Identifying and delivering an appropriate treatment programme within an agreed timescale/number of sessions
  4. Ongoing monitoring of progress towards treatment goals using standardised treatment measures
  5. Relapse prevention planning
  6. Provision of assessment, interim and discharge reports, which can be tailored to your specific requirements.

Benefits of providing psychological support to employees

  • Improved health and wellbeing of staff experiencing psychological problems
  • Reduced sickness absence, enhanced productivity/reduction negative effects of presenteeism and increased staff retention

Get in touch with Dr Armstrong

  • To discuss how he might be able to support an employee with a mental health problem
  • To find out more about the services he offers
  • To book an appointment