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Mental Health : Return to Work Guidelines

Posted by denise on 15 April 2013 | 0 Comments

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When employees return to work following depression, anxiety or a related mental health problem, they need support from their workplace.

Guidelines have been developed by Mental Health First Aid, a national non-profit training and research programme at the University of Melbourne, to assist workplaces in how to support employees returning to work after experiencing common mental health issues. The guidelines consist of actions rated as important or essential by expert panels of consumers, employers and health professionals.

As part of a broader health and wellbeing policy, the need for organisations to develop policy and guidelines around return to work for employees with mental health problem  garners  strength  given recent research that suggests that, in the UK alone,  over 70 million working days are lost annually to conditions such as depression and anxiety.   In response, the UK government has launched a campaign encouraging employers to take a mental health stock take of their workforce.

Developing a  return-to-work plan

When developing an employee’s return-to-work plan, the organisation should ensure that:

  • its approach is fair and consistent, while being flexible with details
  • its approach is tailored to the individual
  • it offers a variety of options to the employee for a flexible return to work
  • it provides the employee with adjustments, flexible working practices or job task modifications to accommodate their capabilities
  • these adjustments are carefully monitored and evaluated, with improvements made where appropriate
  • it informs employees of disability management initiatives so that they have a greater awareness of roles and resources for making adjustments
  • those who need to know are informed about reasonable adjustment arrangements made for employee

Given that we know that the majority of employees often do not talk about these issues for fear of being stigmatised,  confidentiality, sensitivity and discretion are critical in supporting the employee in the workplace.

Click here to download a copy of the Guidelines

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