As the stigma surrounding mental health continues, World Mental Health Day is campaigning to raise awareness of hidden mental health conditions so that sufferers have the necessary support.
Mental health and the workplace
The TUC released some staggering statistics today, revealing only 50% of people with disabilities and only 33.7% of people with mental health conditions are in work.
People with mental health conditions face a constant struggle to find a working environment that is accessible and accommodates their condition, as well as ensuring it does not exacerbate their condition. As the number of people admitted to treatment under the Mental Health Act rises year on year, raising awareness of mental health is educating employers on their duty and role in tackling this taboo subject.
A Health and Safety Executive report revealed that in 2017 the total days lost due to work-related stress, anxiety and depression reached 9.9 million days and 300,000 of those suffering with long term mental health conditions ended up leaving their jobs. The Department of Health states that at any one time, 1 in 6 adults will be experiencing mental health conditions including schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder.
Under the Equality Act 2010 a person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantially adverse and long-term effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Long term is defined as lasting or likely to last 12 months or more.
Employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabilities in the workplace and make things that little bit easier for their staff. In many cases, simple and cost effective workplace adjustments can make a vast difference. Examples of workplace adjustments to accommodate mental health conditions can be:
- Change in practice
- Change in workload
- Extending flexible work policies
- Changes to working area
- Re-allocation of tasks
Changes can ensure that as long as a person has the right skills for a job there are no barriers to them being able to apply for, or perform that job role.
Reasonableness relates to the employer’s resources and whether or not it would be excessively disruptive to the business, staff or the role to make such changes.
There are huge benefits to both employers and employers in implementing the correct reasonable adjustments.