Across the UK, ill mental health causes employers an estimated £30 billion every year. This is often through loss of production, recruitment issues and abundance absences. With the Government’s Department of Health suggesting that one in four people will experience some kind of mental health issues throughout their lifetime, becoming aware of ill mental health has never been so important.
It’s the Law!
Most employers will be aware that it is against the law to discriminate against a potential employee on the basis of a mental health condition. In order to stop an unwanted mental health solicitor arriving at your door, as an employer is in important to be clued up on not only the laws surrounding mental health, but how to improve the workplace in reference to this.
Mental health laws are in place to deter discrimination against people with a diagnosis or potential diagnosis of a mental health condition. These include the above mentioned employment laws, accompanied by insurance, housing, education, guardianship and criminal laws. With the rise in awareness and increasing amount of diagnosis’ in the UK, mental health solicitors are busy helping clients with the something confusing mental health laws.
Those who practise law will be often be specialised in a certain section of the law. Therefore, a mental health solicitor will be extremely knowledgeable of the regulations surrounding mental health. Mental health laws cover a range of topics, such as wills and probate, court of protection cases, powers of attorney and care orders. Employers may seek legal advice from such a solicitor to ensure their knowledge mental health laws are correct.
To practise as a mental health solicitor, tests will have been taken to ensure they are aware of all relevant laws, including patient confidentiality and medical treatment. It is also essential that they have sensitivity when understanding the needs of their client and act with full commitment.
As an employer, if you’re stuck on where you stand with mental health laws, seek the advice of a mental health solicitor – there is really no one better to ask.
The Benefits of Positivity
In order to stop legal action coming upon an employer and their business, simple steps can be put in place to raise understanding of mental health issues in the workplace. There are many benefits to promoting positive mental health within a company. Staff with a healthy mind are likely to perform to their fullest, be present at work more often and have a higher rate of work engagement. Mental health discrimination is a serious offence in the eyes of the law, so taking making constructive changes towards this can aid in the reduction of the severity of the situation.
Reducing the duration and quantity of ill mental health at work will also help the productivity of a company hugely. There is a large stigma placed upon mental health, as many see having such a condition as a weakness. This is something that needs to change in order to aid those who have ill mental health back to full fitness and efficiency. A happy workforce will work more productively as well as interacting at a better rate and adapt to changes with more ease. As mental health diagnosis is becoming increasingly common, employers cannot afford to ignore it any longer.
A positive community within a business will also encourage those with mental health issues to start conversations about it. If a sufferer feels unable to speak about their condition, they may either take more time off work than they need, or they may return to work in an unfit state – this could cause a health and safety risk. In addition to this, undiagnosed problems can cause ‘secondary symptoms’ which can further prolong absences.
To help the normalisation of the topic, promoting a commitment to positive mental health is essential. Understanding why you’re encouraging the scheme and what you want to achieve by it is also important. If the head of the institution isn’t fully on-board, then the rest of the staff will not be either. Send an important message emphasising positive mental health to the entirety of the workforce will again help with removing stigmas and allowing people to become comfortable with discussing the subject. Support systems should be put in place to allow those who suffer with ill mental health to be able to discuss their issues – keeping in mind the legal procedures surrounding confidentiality and privacy. Ensuring employees know where and how to get help is pivotal to a successful positive mental health structure.
Providing staff with mental health training can also be helpful. With a workforce able to spot and aid those with ill mental health with again aid the productivity of the company. It is also important to enlighten employees to the expected behaviour towards mental health and to notify them of how this will be disciplined if behaviour is inappropriate. Managers and senior staff members should also be aware of how employees can get help with their problems outside of the workplace.
With the growing concern of ill mental health, it is more important now than ever that as an employer you are clued up on relevant laws. It is well known that promoting positive mental health awareness in the workplace will improve the productivity and success of a business. It really is as simple as normalising a subject by just talking about it. After all, can you really afford to lose thousands of pounds due to an outdated stigma of such a pertinent issue?