Mental health support from ACAS

ACAS has launched a new campaign to support small businesses and organisations with mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.  The guidance for businesses can be found on this link. There is also a communication toolkit for businesses which includes various assets.

The law

Employers have a ‘duty of care’. This means they must do all they reasonably can to support their employees’ health, safety and wellbeing. This includes:

  • making sure the working environment is safe
  • protecting staff from discrimination 
  • carrying out risk assessments.

Discriminating against someone with a disability

A mental health issue can be considered a disability under the law (Equality Act 2010) if all of the following apply:

  • it has a ‘substantial adverse effect’ on the life of an employee (for example, they regularly cannot focus on a task, or it takes them longer to do)
  • it lasts at least 12 months, or is expected to
  • it affects their ability to do their normal day-to-day activities (for example, interacting with people, following instructions or keeping to set working times). 

A mental health issue can be considered a disability even if there are not symptoms all the time, or the symptoms are better at some times than at others.

If an employee has a disability, employers:

Simple changes to the person’s working arrangements or responsibilities can help, for example allowing them more rest breaks or working with them each day to help prioritise their workload.

You can find out more about disability discrimination here.