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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness
Work and mental health

Working with employers

Contributing to a multi-disciplinary health and social care team approach to working with employees and employers

Health and social care professionals are key strands in the support network that people with mental health conditions may need to stay in work and to keep working well.  By working closely with your patient, and with their consent the occupational health support service in their workplace, you can help to review your patient’s work conditions and to plan the changes that may be needed in terms of the work environment or working patterns.  You can also provide ongoing support and encouragement as part of the care plan, especially where you have identified regaining or maintaining occupational function as a clinical outcome or goal.


By working with employers, either through individual patients, or by providing occupational health support, you have an important role in ensuring that personal information is communicated to the right people without crossing the boundary of clinical confidentiality.  The approach that health and care professionals take to supporting people with mental health conditions to stay well and productive at work also contributes to the breaking down of the myths and stigma that still surrounds mental ill-health. 


The key activities that health and care professionals can support employees and employers with are in assessing the risks in a particular workplace or for a specific person, developing ‘reasonable adjustments’ and advising employees and employers on the effects of medication on carrying out tasks at work.  


Links to resources:

Mindful Employer

This is a network of organisations who have signed up to a voluntary agreement aimed at increasing awareness of mental health at work.   It aims to disseminate examples of good practice and help employers understand the role of the GP and enable health professionals to become more involved in work-related issues. It provides GPs with access to sources of advice and support, enhanced recovery for patients and potentially reduced medication costs.

Work and Health: Changing how we think about common health problems

Gordon Waddell & Kim Burton
This leaflet challenges how you think about health at work and offers ideas on what you should and should not do - based on new scientific evidence about what is good for workers themselves.  It provides information for those who deal with health issues at work, including: senior management, line managers, human resources, small employers, unions, health & safety advisers, occupational health professionals, rehabilitation providers, employment advisers, claims handlers and lawyers.  It stresses that achieving health at work depends on everyone working together. What you do makes a difference - for good or ill.


The health and work handbook.  Patient care and occupational health: a partnership guide for primary care and occupational health

This handbook aims to help to focus both primary care teams and occupational health professionals on the role they can play and the major contribution they can make to helping keep people in work, with all the advantages that brings. It includes FAQs and case studies and was produced by the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, Royal College of General Practitioners and Society of Occupational Medicine


Health and Work in General Practice
National Education Programme for General Practitioners
The RCGP is rolling out a programme that will be delivered through a series of half day workshops throughout Great Britain. 

The purpose of the training is to:

  • increase the knowledge, skills and confidence of GPs in dealing with clinical issues relating to work and health
  • ensure GPs are aware of their responsibilities in this area and to signpost additional means of support which will enable them and their teams to be confident that they are providing the best possible care for these patients.


Practical tips for a busy GP
Royal College of General Practitioners,
A healthier tomorrow
This links to the health tomorrow - practical tips section of the RCGP online learning environment website. It includes simple questions that GPs can ask patients about their work and any potential issues linking health issues to the workplace.

* Please note that these pages are only accessible to members of the RCGP or to people who are registered subscribers to the College.


Healthy working UK

This website provides GPs, other primary healthcare professionals and health professionals in secondary care settings with timely access to information, training and decision aids to support the management of health and work.

The website includes training modules for GPs on health and work topics these are accredited by the Royal College of General Practitioners. 

There are also training modules for practitioners working in secondary care aimed at improving knowledge and competence in the implications of work on a patient’s health and wellbeing. 


These tools have been developed in collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Faculty of Occupational Medicine and Society of Occupational Medicine and are based on the Healthy Working Wales pilot developed by Cardiff University and the Welsh Assembly Government. The website includes information which is specific for England, Scotland and Wales.  


This is the link to advice about occupational health from WorkSmart which is provided by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).



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