Mental Health Awareness Week

Published on: 17/05/2019

#Sickness Absence & Wellbeing

According to The Government's Department of Health, 25% of us will experience mental health issues at some point in our lives.

A study conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, shows the impact that mental health conditions can have on individuals which in turn, has implications for employers:

  • 37% of sufferers are more likely to get into conflict with colleagues
  • 57% find it harder to juggle multiple tasks
  • 80% find it difficult to concentrate
  • 62% take longer to do tasks
  • 50% are potentially less patient with customers/clients.

Due to this, understanding mental health issues and promoting a positive and inclusive working environment could not be more important.

The Law

Many believe that the law should do more to protect individuals who are suffering with mental health conditions from discrimination in the workplace. It is a challenging topic as there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to mental illness, the symptoms and implications of such illnesses present themselves differently in each person.

The Equality Act 2010 defines disability as a physical or mental impairment which has a substantially adverse and long-term effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. “Long term” is regarded as lasting for a year or more.

Depression for example can, in some circumstances, meet this criteria and thus gains protection under the Equality Act. As a general rule, work-related stress in isolation, does not meet the definition.

Mental Health Awareness week is a good chance to reflect on what your organisation does to promote mental wellbeing in the workplace. Could you do more? Remember, where a mental illness meets the definition of a disability under the Equality Act, employers have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments to support affected employees in the workplace.

For more information on reasonable adjustments, disability discrimination and mental health awareness and training, speak to one of our experts in the employment team.


This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking professional and legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.