Effective interventions to improve staff mental health

A new report from the Society of Occupational Medicine outlines the most effective interventions for improving workplace mental health.

8 December 2023

The latest report from the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) highlights effective interventions employers should adopt to support employees in improving and managing their mental health.

The value of Occupational Health and Human Resources in supporting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is written by Dr Kevin Teoh, from Birkbeck, University of London, working alongside SOM and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

It provides guidance on how to better manage workplace mental health and wellbeing, while also recognising the wide range of interventions currently in use which can make it difficult for employers to know what does and doesn't work.

Recent statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show there were 875,000 cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in Great Britain in 2022/23. The scale of the issue is further evident in the CIPD’s 2023 Good Work Index , where one in four workers said work was bad for their physical (26%) or mental (27%) wellbeing.

The key to making a difference is a systematic approach to managing mental health and wellbeing, providing support interventions that are evidence-based and meet the needs of staff, the new report says.

The report recommends

  • Primary-level interventions (prevention) - identifying root causes, for example, ensuring workload is manageable, adequate support is available, leadership is compassionate, inclusive and ethical. Also training managers to support the wellbeing of their staff and encouraging employees to seek help. 
  • Secondary-level interventions (support) - improving people’s ability to cope with challenging aspects of their roles. Effective strategies include helping staff maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life. 
  • Tertiary-level interventions (rehabilitation) - focusing on treatment and encouraging a safe and healthy return to work. Occupational health, the specialist and expert field of health and wellbeing at work, is a crucial part of the solution. 

For more information, download the report here.


Further resources

•    Occupational health for NHS Staff  - overview of how an excellent occupational health (OH) service for staff can help the NHS be more productive, reduce sickness absence, improve retention and save money. 

•    Mental health in the workplace  - tools and resources to help you make positive improvements to mental wellbeing in the workplace. 

•    Evidence-based approaches to workforce wellbeing  - details of evidence-based approaches to workforce wellbeing and a useful guide for reviewing your approach.