A mental health policy is a good opportunity for an employer to provide their staff with guidance on what to do if they are suffering from stress or mental ill health. The policy will set out the support that will be made available by the employer in these circumstances. It also allows the employer to show the steps they are taking to support mental wellbeing in the workplace.

In this blog we detail the key aspects that should be included in a strong mental health policy.

Understanding stress and mental health in the workplace

Your mental health policy could include a definition of both stress and mental health. It’s useful to incorporate a general recognition that people can react differently to similar situations – and that the triggers for poor mental health will vary for person to person.

How the employer commits to support mental wellbeing at work and its commitment to providing a working environment that supports mental wellbeing

This can include the employer promoting a culture of open and honest communication regarding mental health. The policy could detail the various services on offer to support mental wellbeing, for instance:

How the employer will address work related stress and stress related absence

Employers should encourage staff to bring this to the attention of their manager or HR, whoever they feel most comfortable speaking to. They may also contact a mental health first aider if one is available to them. The policy could then detail what steps will be taken to help and support the employee. This could include:

The importance of confidentiality in a mental health policy

The mental health policy can remind staff that information about stress and mental health is highly sensitive and such information should be kept confidential. The policy should also reassure staff that they are protected from any form of harassment or victimisation based upon a disclosure concerning their mental wellbeing.

An employer should ensure that it is able to follow through on commitments made in a wellbeing policy. For example, that risk assessments are undertaken, training is provided and that the sources of support are made available.

For more information and guidance, speak to one of our mental health experts in the employment team.