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

Keeping contact

Encourage your patients to keep in touch with their employer during sickness absence

Health and care professionals can help people with mental health conditions to return to work by first encouraging them to keep in contact with their employer during sickness absence.  There is a wealth of guidance and resources for both employees and employers which encourages this contact and helps to structure it to the benefit of both parties. 


Links to resources:


Business Disability Forum
‘A Practical guide to managing sickness absence’ and ‘Non-visible disabilities line manager guide’ includes guidance on keeping in touch during sick leave agreements.


Mental Health and Work

Royal Collegeof Psychiatrists,

Health, Work and Wellbeing, 2008

This review was commissioned by the cross government Health, Work and Wellbeing Programme.  This report includes a section on the effect of stigma and discrimination in the workplace.  It includes quotes from people with mental health conditions, some of whom have been treated well at work and the effect on others when the necessary adjustments have not been made to aid their return to work.


Chartered Instituteof PersonnelDevelopment (CIPD)

Annual Survey Report 2010, Absence Management

This report of the 11th annual survey carried out among 573 organisations.  The report provides benchmarking data for organisations on absence levels and the cost and causes of absence.  This year there are topical sections about employee wellbeing and the effect of the economic climate on absence. These sections highlight the vital need for organisations to manage employee absence effectively. The report includes two case studies which focus on early interventions to minimise absence. 


Health and Safety Executive

Although these pages are aimed at employers, they contain useful information on good practice and the link to the ‘Return to work questionnaire’ which could help you to identify the demands which may have exacerbated your patient’s illness, the support and changes you could discuss with your patient as part of a return to work strategy.

There are also links to sources of advice and help when returning to work


Fit for Work Services

Fit for Work Services help people to stay in or return to work more quickly after illness or when they develop a health condition or impairment.  There are a number of schemes around the UK run by case managers who work to ensure that clients receive appropriate support on time.  The scheme is guaranteed to run until March 2011. 



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Work and mental health for clinicians

Work is a key clinical outcome

Working together to support people recovering from mental ill health at work

Developing and supporting a return to work plan