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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.

You can find out more about some of these below.

Provide training

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

  • improve everyone’s awareness about mental health
  • develop managers’ skills to support staff

For a general introduction to mental health at work, we have a free online learning course. You can access it via the NHS Health Scotland Virtual Learning Environment. Just set up an account and you can access this and other free courses.

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.

Health Scotland has also produced 3 animations to start the conversation and show all staff how to support people who may be feeling suicidal or experiencing mental distress.

Signpost to useful resources

You should make sure employees are aware of any employee assistance or occupational health programmes you provide that can support them in times of poor mental health.

It is also helpful to signpost to national mental health resources such as

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

  • newsletters
  • the intranet
  • noticeboards
  • payslips.

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 programme, See Me, have information and free resources on their website to help you better understand stigma and discrimination and tackle it in your workplace.

Visit the See Me site for tools and resources​

Strong leadership

Fundamental to creating a mentally healthy workplace is strong, supportive 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 that managers can use to reflect upon their behaviour and management style.

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

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 and/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.