Mental health

Jigsaw puzzle piece

Mental ill health will affect one in four people at some point in their working lives. As the largest public sector employer in the UK the NHS can make a significant contribution to combating discrimination against people with mental health problems, not only benefiting the individuals concerned, but also having a positive impact on the diversity of the workforce and the experience the NHS is able to offer patients. 

People with mental health problems frequently suffer discrimination in the workplace and unemployment affects those with long-term mental health disorders more than any other group of disabled people. Equality legislation makes it unlawful to discriminate against people with mental health problems. 

The term mental ill health covers harmful levels of stress, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder (manic depression), psychosis, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and is often associated with drug and alcohol abuse and eating disorders (e.g. anorexia nervosa and bulimia).

Resources, guides and podcasts

We provide advice and information on employment issues relating to the mental ill health of NHS staff. Our managers’ guide on supporting workplace mental health has been divided in to two sections to help managers provide support to their staff:

Public Health England (PHE), Business in the Community (BITC) and the Samaritans have joined forces to produce the following toolkits for employers:

These toolkits help employers take action around suicide prevention and support them when responding to the death of an employee caused by suicide. They include advice on steps employers can take to help their teams and providing them with the tools and support they need to prevent suicides. 

These toolkits form a suite of interconnected toolkits alongside the already published: The mental health toolkit for employers and Musculoskeletal health in the workplace: a toolkit for employers

NHS Employers also have resources such as:

To support World Mental Health Day, we produced two podcasts featuring the thoughts of Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at MIND and Jon Bartlett, a coach and consultant who specialises in emotional health and wellbeing. 

  • Our first podcast on the subject, 'Soon rather than later' talks about the importance of talking to your manager, how individuals can stay mentally healthy at work and what reasonable adjustments can be put in place to aid transition back to the workplace following a period of sickness related to mental health. 
  • The second podcast, 'The human approach' is aimed at managers in the NHS and encourages them to approach mental health conversations as a human rather than a clinician. There are tips on how wellness action plans can help, how to implement 'team temperature checks' and the importance of leading from the top. 


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