NHS Employees, especially those at the frontline, are excellent at caring for others. However many struggle to prioritise caring for themselves and this is particularly seen with staff who are experiencing mental health problems. We all have mental health – it moves up and down a spectrum from good to poor and it’s affected by a range of factors both in and outside of work.
Mental health problems such as stress, depression or anxiety account for a significant proportion of sickness absence across the NHS. This has major resource implications for the organisation in terms of cost and lost productivity, and importantly affects staff well-being and their ability to give the standard of patient care that they strive for.
It is important, although we recognise in some cases challenging, to discuss this with your line manager or another senior manager. Your employer will have policies in place to support you including changes to your work, consider your working hours and any absenteeism, and knowledge of local staff support organisations.
If you are concerned about a colleague’s mental health, or that of someone you manage, find a quiet time and place to ask them how they are doing. Encourage a conversation about wellbeing, just as you would if you were concerned about their physical health. Encourage them to seek help and let them know they can always speak to you about this.
Resource for how to support staff who are experiencing a mental health problem.
NHS employers guidance on workplace features identified as being key for good health and wellbeing.
Many NHS psychological therapy services allow you to self-refer, or you can see your GP for guidance. Other sources of support include:
Provides confidential, non-judgemental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those that could lead to suicide.
Tel: 116 123
(24 hours a day, free to call)
SANE mental health support line:
SANE runs a national, out-of-hours mental health helpline offering specialist emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers. They are open every day of the year from 4.30pm to 10.30pm
Tel: 0300 304 7000
Mind provides confidential mental health information services. With support and understanding, Mind enables people to make informed choices. The Infoline gives information on types of mental distress, where to get help, drug treatments, alternative therapies and advocacy.
Tel: 0300 123 3393
(9am-6pm Monday to Friday)
Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line:
Provides expert advice and information to people with mental health problems and those who care for them, as well as giving help to health professionals, employers and staff.
Tel: 0300 5000 927
(9.30am - 4pm Monday to Friday)