Ink blots on a white background used as part of mental health assessments years ago, not now
Inkblots used for mental health assessments in the past

Mental Health at Work

These pages contain the information on mental health at work and how it can affect business or workers.

Also included are tools to help and links to resources.

Results are in from AXA survey on Stress

Headlines show that SMEs failing to tackle stress at work and how many check up on staff when ill just to make sure they are! 

The full report from AXA PPP click here

Launches new website on Stress at Work

This month the HSE launched all its stress at work resources in one place and includes –

Tools and templates available to use – click here

 Legislation/discrimination against people with mental illness

In 2012 the Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill was introduced to the House of Lords with the aim of reducing the stigma and negative perceptions associated with mental illness by repealing certain pieces of legislation that are considered to prevent people with mental health problems from participating fully in society. The law provisions can prevent people with mental health conditions from becoming:
  • Members of Parliament – under the Mental Health Act
  • School governors – under the School Governance (Constitution) Regs
  • Jurors  – under the Juries Act
  • Company directors – under the Companies (Model Articles) Regs

The Bill had its second reading on 14 September 2012. The Bill passed the first step and will now be considered by a Public Bill Committee and any part is up for discussion.It is hoped that the laws mentioned above will be updated and the clauses removed so that they reflect current thinking and fairness in society. 

On 28 February 2013, the Mental Health (Discrimination) Act 2013 was passed

Managers Guide to Doing a Stress Risk Assessment

Increased numbers of people in hospital with stress

This increase in stress is thought to be influenced by the recession, official figures revealed in December 2012.

A total of 6,370 people were hospitalised with stress in the 12 months to May 2012, a seven percent rise on the previous year and 47 percent up on 2007/8 when the economic crisis hit, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIS).

Those of working age were most vulnerable, with the highest rate of hospital admissions. Overall hospital admissions were up two percent last year, indicating that admissions for stress, though low, are rising three times as fast. The HSCIS figures do not include the millions who visit GPs, A&E departments or alternative practitioners for stress which are also thought to be increasing.

For full report click here.

Psychological treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

The review undertaken in 2009 by the Cochrane Institute concerns the efficacy of psychological treatment for PTSD.

Evidence shows that individual trauma-focused cognitive-behavioural therapy (TFCBT), eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), stress management and group TFCBT are effective in the treatment of PTSD.

Other non-trauma focused psychological treatments did not reduce PTSD symptoms as much.

There is some evidence that  TFCBT and EMDR are superior to stress management in the treatment of PTSD at between 2 and 5 months following treatment, and that TFCBT, EMDR and stress management are more effective than other therapies.

There is insufficient evidence to show whether or not psychological treatment is harmful.


  • Consider trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy or eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing in people with PTSD.
  • Psychological treatments can reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Trauma-focused treatments are more effective than non-trauma focused treatments. For full report click here.

For more information on post-traumatic stress disorder click here.

October 2012 – updated July 14

 Line Manager Stress Management Competency Indicator Tool

Line managers have many significant roles to play in managing and tackling stress, identifying and managing those with stress, implementing any organisational stress policy, and communicating issue both up and down the management chain.

Managers need to think about their own behaviour, and how it can either add to the stress their staff experience or help ease the problem.

Poor management behaviour is often highlighted as a major reason by those suffering from work-related stress. Training is usually given to those going into management but often they are then left to “get on with it” with no checks on how the manager is coping. It is difficult for managers to get feedback on how their staff are affected by their behaviour – a manager needs to know if they are negatively affecting staff.

Details of the Stress Competency Tool

The HSE, in association with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Investors in People, has designed a series of tools to allow managers to assess whether they have the behaviours identified as effective for preventing and reducing stress at work; with the aim of helping managers think about their behaviour and management style.

These tools include a self-assessment tool, one that requires comments from the manager’s staff (180°) and one that allows responses from staff, senior managers and peers (360°)  

The key messages to line managers are: that stress management is a part of normal general management activities and that there is no single behaviour needed for effective stress management, so managers need to think about using a complementary set of behaviours. Through providing managers with a clear specification of the relevant behaviours and a means to assess whether those behaviours are already part of their repertoire, the research can support managers in behaving in ways that prevent and reduce stress for their staff.

The development of the ‘Stress management competency indicator tool’ opens the possibility of assessing the relevant behaviours through self-assessment, upward feedback or 360-degree feedback. For managers involved in other stress management activities, the framework and tool give a useful starting point to approach solutions.

To access the tool click the link here stress indicator tool for managers/supervisors.

Or go to the Stress Indicator Guidance notes from the HSE

See also other blogs and web news on this site

Work Related Stress Prevention – European Guidance from the ILO click here

Wellbeing – All being well – click here

image of a lonely sad person which suggests being bullied in the workplace
What to do if you are being bullied in the workplace

Bullying in the Workplace click here

Absence – click here

Do you think your company deals with stress and mental health issues properly? Let me know in the comments section.