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Acas welcomes NICE guidance on improving mental wellbeing within the workplace

Thursday 05 November 2009

Acas, the employment relations service, welcomes the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's (NICE) new public health guidance on promoting mental wellbeing at work and raising awareness of this important area of health. Every year three in ten employees experience mental health problems*. It is therefore essential that line managers and supervisors are equipped to manage people with mental health conditions at work such as stress, anxiety and mild depression.

The guidance highlights how employers and employees can work in partnership to improve mental wellbeing by taking an organisation-wide approach to promoting the benefits of working in healthy conditions. This could mean having flexible working policies and well trained line managers who promote healthy relationships.

Acas recently published a pdf icon From stress to distress: the impact of the economic recession on mental health at work [502kb], advising business and managers to look at how they can anticipate and identify mental health problems in the workplace and what steps should be taken to respond to them.

John Taylor, Acas Chief Executive commented:

"Every business or organisation should have a commitment to health and wellbeing where the quality of management and leadership is good, there is open and honest communication, and bullying and a blame culture are not tolerated. As well as good employment relations it also makes good business sense as millions of pounds are lost each year through workplace absenteeism.

"If not managed properly, mental health problems in the workplace can be very disruptive - both for individuals and for business. During this difficult economic climate it is even more important that employers, line managers and HR work together to ensure that employees suffering from mental distress receive the support they need. Spotting and doing something about troubled employees is an important business skill that line managers and can develop."

Acas provides a range of advice and guidance on stress, flexible working, promoting health and wellbeing and how to implement policies and procedures.

*charity Shaw Trust

Notes to editors

Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members.

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