Supporting mental health - Healthy Working Lives

Supporting mental health

Simple, cost effective ways to support your employees

​​​​​​​​​​As an employer, you have a crucial role to play in supporting the health and wellbeing of your employees, whether the problems are related to work or not.

Evidence shows that there are a number of simple, cost effective ways to support and encourage a mentally healthy workplace.

You can find out more about some of these below.

Strong leadership

Fundamental to creating a mentally healthy workplace is strong leadership.

As well as noticing changes in employees and providing support, line managers also need to be aware of their own behaviour. This can have a strong impact on others.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have designed a Line Manager Competency Indicator Tool you can use to reflect upon your behaviour and management style.

Visit the HSE site to use the Line Manager Competency Tool Indicator

Tackle stigma and discrimination

Challenging stigma and discrimination against mental health problems in the workplace can result in employees

  • being more likely to seek help earlier
  • feel supported in recovery.

Scotland's anti-stigma campaign, Se​e Me, have information and free resources on their website to help you better understand stigma and discrimination in the workplace.

Visit the See Me site for tools and resources​

Provide training

There are a number of training opportunities available online and throughout Scotland. These can help you and your employees

  • improve awareness about mental health
  • develop some key skills.

For a general introduction to mental health at work, we have a free online learning course. You will need an account to access the course.​ You can access it via the NHS Health Scotland Virtual Learning Environment

We also have a free one day training course for managers on Mentally Healthy Workplaces. You can find information on training near you in our training and events section.

You may also find our "Ahead for Health" DVD useful to support more positive discussions around mental health in your workplace. Contact us to find out more.

Signpost to useful resources

You should make sure employees are aware of any employee assistance or occupational health programmes you provide.

It is also helpful to signpost to national mental health resources such as Mind – Mental health at work , Breathing SpaceSamaritans and NHS inform's Living Life service.

You could do this in a number of ways, such as

  • newsletters
  • the intranet
  • noticeboards
  • payslips.

Involve employees in decision making

Involving employees in the decision making processes will not only improve the processes themselves, it will help employees feel more valued, involved and empowered to have a say.

You can find out more about this in our consulting employees section.

Provide support to employees off work

If an employee takes time off work due to work related stress or a mental health issue, there are several steps you can take to encourage and support them to return as quickly as possible.

Steps include

  • keep in regular contact
  • make formal plans for a supported return to work
  • conduct a return to work discussion
  • offer a phased return as part of reasonable adjustments
  • check-in to see things are working.

You can find out more about this in our ill health and absence section.