Extra support for mental health at work

11 Aug 2022 12:34 PM

Employers given tools to understand and improve mental health of workers.

Businesses will have access to a free online platform offering practical ways to boost mental health in the workplace from today (Thursday 11 August).

Face-to-face training opportunities, clear guidance on the legal duties of businesses, and specialist third-party contacts will be in one place for the first time – making it easier than ever for employers to access the means of creating a culture of support and wellbeing at work.

This initiative comes as research shows the pandemic has had a detrimental impact on the mental health of people up and down the country. As more people continue to return to the workplace, the Scottish Government is encouraging employers to support the mental wellbeing of staff so that businesses can continue to recover from COVID-19.

Recent research shows poor mental health costs Scottish employers over £2 billion every year and that, for every £1 spent on mental health interventions, employers get back £5 in reduced sick days and increased productivity.

Mental Wellbeing Minister Kevin Stewart said:

“Happier workforces create successful businesses – it’s a win-win for all involved.

“The pandemic has impacted the mental health of us all and employers need the tools to protect and support the mental health of their staff.

“This platform makes it easier than ever to achieve this, and I encourage companies across Scotland to get involved for the benefit of their staff and productivity.”

Chief Executive of Public Health Scotland Angela Leitch said:

“These last few years have been difficult for many people across Scotland and has had an impact on the mental health of many. 

“Returning to our workplaces could also be a further challenge because of changes in personal circumstances. It is widely recognised that being amongst colleagues can be beneficial to our mental health and being back in the workplace can also be a more positive and productive experience.

“This toolkit will therefore be of considerable benefit to employers and to their staff as we move out of the restrictions we’ve lived with for two years.” 

It comes as See Me –Scotland’s national programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination – has launched a complementary digital portal that gives employers access to a one-size-fits-all framework for workplaces. This will help companies make continuous improvements to directly tackle mental health stigma and discrimination.

Wendy Halliday, director of See Me, Scotland’s programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination, said:

“Mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace often comes from a lack of knowledge. People can find that genuine problems are either belittled, or not believed in the first place.

“We’re calling on organisations to be real leaders in creating positive change, making their workplaces the best they can be, by joining the See Me in Work programme.

“The new digital portal supports employers to take action to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination at work and create workplaces that are open in talking about mental health and where discriminatory behaviour is challenged.”

Background:

Supporting a mentally healthy workplace is the new online platform.

The £120 million Mental Health Transition & Recovery Plan, published in October 2020, continues to transform support, with a renewed focus on prevention and early intervention. This has seen record levels of investment in mental health, record numbers of staff, and support being provided to a larger number of people than ever before.

Separately, the See Me in Work portal is a new free digital platform for employers in Scotland, designed to help transform cultures, policies and practices which will change the way mental health is treated in workplaces across Scotland. The four-stage programme takes employers through continuous improvement cycles, which include staff surveys and self-assessment activities, and producing an action plan for the organisation to take forward.