How to support staff who are experiencing a mental health problem

Supporting an employee who has disclosed a mental health problem may seem daunting, but there are some small and simple steps that a Manager can take to make positive adjustments to their role, or to provide extra support.

A private, meaningful conversation is crucial, not only to let them know that they are fully supported by their employer, but also to find out what their individual needs are. Be positive – focus on what employees can do, rather than what they can’t.

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Some ideas for adjustments and extra support are;

  • Change of work-space (e.g. a quieter space)

  • Light-box or seat with more natural light for someone with seasonal depression

  • Relaxing absence rules and limits for those with disability-related sickness absence

  • Agreement to give an employee leave at short notice for appointments relating to their mental health (e.g. therapy or counselling)

  • Reallocation of some tasks of duties

  • Debriefing sessions after difficult calls, customers or tasks.

Once a health issue or disability has been disclosed, employers have legal duties to consider making reasonable adjustments. However, adjustments should be made to help all staff cope and recover, whether they have a formal diagnosis or not.

Information about when an employer may have a legal obligation to make adjustments to someone’s job role, can be found on the GOV UK and Mind UK’s websites.

Remember, a healthy workforce equals a healthy business!

by Jennifer Headington

(Advice based on Mind toolkits, available at

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