• International Workplace
  • 24 October 2017

Spotting mental ill health in the workplace: new guidance and funding

New guidance to help employers manage mental health in the workplace has been launched by ACAS, following a recent report by Business in the Community, which found only 11% of people questioned felt able to disclose a mental health issue to their line manager, while half of line managers said they would welcome training on the issue.

Tom Neil, Head of ACAS guidance, said:

"Most managers are used to dealing with physical ill health but can be less confident on the best approach for handling mental ill health. With one in six workers experiencing mental health issues it makes sense for managers to have an understanding of the signs and approaches that can be taken.

"Our new guidance can help managers develop the rights skills to support individuals as well as creating a culture of wellbeing in their workplace."

The new ACAS guidance includes advice on:

  • spotting the signs of mental ill health;
  • talking to a team member that may be experiencing mental ill health;
  • supporting a team member during periods of mental ill health; and
  • helping a team member return to work.

You can view the full new guidance at

Meanwhile, a new £15m programme will see up to one million people trained in basic mental health ‘first aid’ skills. The programme will improve personal resilience and help people recognise and respond effectively to signs of mental illness in others.

The campaign, designed and delivered by Public Health England (PHE), will help people assess their own mental wellbeing and learn techniques to reduce stress.

There will be an online learning module designed to improve the public’s knowledge, skills and confidence on mental health.

The campaign will aim to build resilience and give people advice, based on what has been shown to work, so that we can all be better at supporting people experiencing poor mental health.

The Government will invest £15m in the campaign. It will launch next year for three years. PHE will work closely with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England and other mental health organisations to ensure the campaign builds on the knowledge and experience of the sector.

Prime Minister, Theresa May, said:

“I want to use the power of government as a force for good to transform the way we deal with mental health problems right across society, and at every stage of life.

“Tackling the injustice and reducing the stigma associated with mental health conditions is a priority for me, which is why today I set the goal of providing one million members of the public with basic mental health awareness and first aid.”

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new magazine to promote mental and physical health awareness, which will be of interest to all employers looking to gain a greater insight into the impact of mental ill health on employees.

Written for people who are experiencing, or who have experienced, mental ill health – written and edited by people who’ve been through the same or similar experiences, Speak Your Mind is available to download from the NHS website.