Support staff with mental health problems
19 August 2019
FOLLOWING THE news of the tragic death of customer assistant, Shaun Winstanley, Mind reminds all employers of their responsibility in promoting wellbeing and looking after their employees at work.
Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind said, “Our thoughts are with the loved ones of Shaun Winstanley at this incredibly difficult time. It’s important anyone bereaved in this way asks for help if they need it. Every suicide is a tragedy, and most are preventable. The Government has committed to investing in mental health services after years of underfunding, but we also want to see different agencies working together to tackle the underlying social issues that can affect our mental health such as debt, housing, access to benefits and employment.
“Staff exposed to traumatic events as a result of their jobs should be offered appropriate support and given time off work or their roles and responsibilities adjusted if necessary. Mental health problems can be debilitating in the same way as physical health problems and are a valid reason for taking sick leave.
“Employers need to bear in mind that any staff facing disciplinary proceedings or dismissals are likely to be at greater risk of developing or worsening mental health problems. That’s why it’s vital that employers have policies and procedures in place to make sure that current and former employees are signposted to, and can access, timely and appropriate support.
“All employers need to create mentally healthy workplaces by tackling the work-related causes of poor mental health and promoting good mental health for all staff, including those living with mental health problems. Every employer should offer workplace wellbeing measures and they don’t need to be large or expensive. Things like flexible working hours, generous annual leave, subsidised exercise classes and Employee Assistance Programmes – access to 24 hour telephone support – can make a big difference. Mind has lots of free resources about mental health at work for both employers and staff, available at mind.org.uk/work.”