NICE and PHE Guideline Recommends Mental Health Training for Managers

Priscilla Lynch 

September 20, 2021

All managers should be given the skills to support employees with mental health issues, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England (PHE) have said in new joint guidance.

The draft guideline on Mental Wellbeing at Work addresses how to create the right conditions to support mental well-being at work through an environment and culture of participation, equality, safety and fairness in the workplace based on open communication.

Mental health training should equip managers with the knowledge, tools, skills and resources to improve awareness of mental well-being at work, the guideline says. It should also improve employees’ understanding of and engagement in organisational decisions and the communication between managers and employees.

The independent guideline committee, made up of mental health experts, employers, professionals from across the NHS, local authority members and lay members, recommends that when offering mental health training to managers, employers should consider:

  • how to have a conversation about mental well-being with an employee;

  • information about mental well-being;

  • how to identify early warning signs of poor mental well-being;

  • resources on mental well-being;

  • awareness of the stigma associated with poor mental well-being; and

  • ongoing monitoring of mental well-being in the workplace.

Dr Paul Chrisp, Director of NICE’s centre for guidelines, said: “Reducing stigma and equipping managers with skills to have conversations with employees about mental health is likely to facilitate conversations between managers and employees about any concerns about their mental wellbeing. This makes it more likely that managers can support employees with mental health issues."

“Further research is needed in this area, but providing managers with skills to discuss mental wellbeing improves the relationship between manager and employee so that they can identify and reduce work stressors.”

A 2020 Deloitte report estimates that poor mental health among employees costs UK employers £42-£45 billion each year.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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