NICE and PHE advocate for mental health training for managers

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and Public Health England have recommended all employers provide mental health training for managers as part of new guidance that will address mental health wellbeing in the workplace. 

The guidance has been created by an independent committee, made up of mental health experts, employers, professionals from across the NHS, local authority members, and lay members.  

A recent report published by Deloitte estimates that poor mental health costs UK employers between £42bn and £45bn each year.  

Dr Paul Chrisp, director of NICE’s centre for guidelines, said: “Even before the pandemic, the state of the nation’s mental health has been a topic of conversation at home, in the workplace and in the media. Our new guideline has considered issues which were a problem before COVID-19 emerged and new issues which have presented themselves as a result of the pandemic. 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. This is a practicable step employers can implement and adopted quickly without a huge amount of investment.” 

The training provided to managers should cover, according to the guidelines:

  • How to have a conversation about mental wellbeing with an employee  
  • Information about mental wellbeing 
  • How to identify early warning signs of poor mental wellbeing 
  • Resources on mental wellbeing 
  • Awareness of the stigma associated with poor mental wellbeing 
  • Ongoing monitoring of mental wellbeing in the workplace 

The full mental wellbeing at work document is expected to be published in March 2022, the draft guidance is currently open for consultation, and will close on 29 October.