Accessibility Page Navigation
Style sheets must be enabled to view this page as it was intended.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness
Work and mental health 

Developing and supporting a return to work plan

Help patients to understand the possible impacts on their work of their mental health problem, and how this might affect their return to work.

Returning to work after a period of sickness absence can be daunting for both employee and employer.  It is important to reinforce the key message that all the evidence shows returning to work can actually aid recovery.  The longer someone is out of the workplace, the more difficult it becomes for them to return to work and the less likely it is that they will return to work at all.  

It is not necessary, or realistic, that that your patient feels 100% fit before returning to the workplace.  It may mean that the return to work is done in a phased or staged fashion – just because returning to work is good for recovery, doesn’t mean this has to be straight back into full time work.  Nor does it mean that the work they return to is exactly the same in the nature of the tasks or the environment.  This links to and builds on the assessment you have made of the contribution that the workplace has made to your patient’s condition as part of the clinical assessment. 




Please note that we are unable to offer advice on individual cases. Please see our FAQ for advice on getting help.

feedback form feedback form

Please answer the following questions and press 'submit' to send your answers OR E-mail your responses to

On each line, click on the mark which most closely reflects how you feel about the statement in the left hand column.

Your answers will help us to make this leaflet more useful - please try to rate every item.


This leaflet is:

Strongly agree




Strongly Disagree

  Strongly Agree Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree Strongly Disagree
Respectful, does not talk down
Well designed

Did you look at this leaflet because you are a (maximum of 2 categories please):

Age group (please tick correct box)

Security Verification:

Type the numbers you see in this picture.