Tackling mental health issues in the workplace

Posted on: November 1, 2017 by Andrew Kinder

On National Stress Awareness Day it is quite apparent that the issues of mental health in the workplace need to be tackled more than ever. A recent comprehensive report published by the UK government called Thriving at Work: a review of mental health and employers highlights in stark terms how employers need to do more to address the issues. It calculates that the annual cost to the UK economy of poor mental health amounts to around £99bn of which almost a half is borne by employers. It also highlights that employees who were forced to stop work due to having mental health problems was 50% higher than for those with physical health issues. It is important therefore for employers to have in place a clear strategy to manage mental health conditions given the personal impact on their employees and also the ‘bottom line’.

On a related note the following top 10 tips may be of interest which are from co-writing a book called ‘The Crisis Book’ which is aimed at improving the workplace and giving people who may be struggling some ideas and encouragement:

  1. Doing something is often better than doing nothing
  2. Anticipate and embrace change as your friend, not your enemy
  3. Look after yourself by moderating diet, exercise and sleep
  4. Build strong positive relationships at home and at work
  5. Identify your stress triggers and how best to manage them
  6. Appreciate that any life event has the potential for losses and gains
  7. Seek out control by giving yourself choices
  8. You might not be able to change the situation but you can change how you think, feel and behave
  9. Have a reality-check and resist the fears than may never happen
  10. Ask for help… you might just get what you need


It is important on national stress day that we all not just look after our own wellbeing at work but also see what we can do to support others who may need a supportive conversation or would appreciate an encouraging gesture.

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About Andrew Kinder
Head of Mental Health Services at Optima Health
As Professional Head of Mental Health Services at Optima Health, Andrew Kinder takes a lead on delivering its Wellbeing@work programme, which works globally to improve the health and wellbeing of its employees. Andrew has made a unique contribution in the area of counselling in the workplace over the last 15 years. He has been a leader in this specialist field work over this period, serving on the Executive Committee of the BACP Workplace (formerly Association for Counselling at Work). He has also promoted workplace counselling through committee work at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Counselling, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Commercial Occupational Health Providers Association. He was recently awarded a Fellowship by BACP.