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Supporting employees back into work after mental health absence

Business chair with out of office sign representing mental health absence

Around 50% of long-term absences from work are the result of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, according to the NHS.

If an employee feels well enough to come back to work, then that’s a very positive thing. Work can create a sense of normality, offer a greater sense of purpose and actually help a person’s mental health.

On the flip side, a report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists on mental health and work states, “Many people with mental health problems fear that, no matter how good a recovery they have made, their symptoms will be made worse by going back to work[1].”

As an employer or a manager, you have a legal duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to your employee’s work under the Equality Act 2010. So let’s look at some ways you can support them back to work…

How to support employees back to work after mental health absence

You can apply a lot of the same principles to this as helping someone back to work after a physical health absence. Here is a taster of our top tips:

  • Check that your employee has spoken to their GP about returning to work
  • Ask to see a fit note from their GP and take notice of any employer recommendations included within. The government website has put together useful guidance on what to do if you receive a fit note from an employee and how to fully utilise it….

… If you’d like to hear the rest of our top tips, you can now book BenTraining, our new mental health training programme, for your organisation. We provide training for managers on managing mental health in the workplace as well as offering practical support and tools to employees on managing their mental health

Our training courses are designed specifically for people working in the automotive industry and are suitable for all organisations. Find out more on our BenTraining webpage.

You can also find out more advice on supporting employees with mental health challenges.

How we can help – Ben4Business

We can help support you as an employer on a wide range of issues and we also offer tailored and specific HR support, as well as training.

If you need more information about how we can help you to support your people, visit www.ben.org.uk/ben4business.



[1] ‘Mental Health and Work’ report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists


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