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

Taking a proactive approach

Developing good policies and practices to support your employees to remain productive at work

The Health and Safety Executive recommend that organisations develop a mental health policy which is integral to the health and safety at work policy.  In this way you show that you recognise and accept that mental health is an important issue and it emphasises your commitment to promoting the mental health of your workforce. 

There are a number of organisations which can help you to develop good policies and embed good practice in your workplace.  Developing and implementing these policies will vary according to the size and resources available to you, but given the importance of mental health you could ask ‘Can you afford not to invest in taking a proactive approach?


Links to resources

Sample policies

ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) Provides advice and guidance on a range of workplace issues.  In addition to written resources, ACAS provides consultancy services which aim to help you understand what needs to be done to address a range of issues related to health and wellbeing and then work with you to develop practical solutions.  There is a work programme which is specifically for small businesses as well as resources for new employers.  Many of ACAS’s publications include sample policies.

Managing attendance and employee turnover

This booklet includes a sample managing absence policy.


Work-related stress: What the law says

This guide summarises the legal duties that employers have to reduce, and where possible prevent, work-related stress impacting on the health of their employees.  It has been produced by the HSE, ACAS, CIPD and Health, Work and Well-being.


Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD)

Stress and mental health at work, 2010

This link includes a section on developing a stress policy and what issues the policy should include.


Shaw Trust

Tackling the last workplace taboo

This website has been developed by the Shaw Trust.  This section makes the case for developing a workplace mental health policy.  It includes the key issues which the policy should include and address as well as support for implementing the policy such as staff training.


Realising ambitions: Better employment support for people with a mental health condition

Rachel Perkins, Paul Farmer and Paul Litchfield

Department for Work and Pensions, December 2009

This review was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to look at mental health and employment and to identify how Government could help people with mental health conditions fulfil their employment ambitions.  Appendix 5 summarises an example of good practice from British Telecom (BT).  BT has a mental health framework which underpins one of five key themes in its ‘people strategy’.   

Training courses


Mind Workplace provides consultancy and training for employers on mental health, enhancing productivity by improving business practices, including through providing training such as the ‘Managing mental health’ course.


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.