Suggested Learning

Putting mental health on your agenda

One in four of us will experience poor mental health at some stage in our lives, so it’s possible that someone in your pharmacy is affected. Laura Chalkley, employment advisory service manager at NPA business partner, Ellis Whittam, looks at some steps pharmacies can consider.

Here are some key steps pharmacies can take:

  • Promote an open door policy to encourage people to talk about their mental health. 
  • If an employee takes frequent, short-term absences, conduct return to work interview to explore the reasons for the absences. If there are signs that that they are suffering from a mental health condition, you can consider what practical steps can be taken to assist the employee. 
  • You should be having regular one to one meetings with your employees to see how they are and pinpoint any key red ags. There are not obvious warning signs for all conditions, which is why it’s important to have frequent meetings to detect any concerns.
  • If something is worrying you, talk to the employee in private, explaining what you have noticed. This can help you understand what is going on and what the next appropriate steps are.
  • If they do reveal a mental health condition, you should consider what adjustments you can provide to help them. It may be useful to create an action plan, which looks at what triggers the employee’s condition and how it can be minimised at work. If they insist there is no problem, monitor the situation.
  • Remember if an employee is disabled under the Equality Act, employers are required to make reasonable adjustments to the worker’s working practices, policies and procedures.
  • If short term sickness evolves into longer term absence, maintain regular contact with the employee to see their progress and whether there is anything you can do to assist them back to work. If a return does not look likely in the near future, plans can be made to put in place temporary cover.
  • Provide training to erode the stigma attached to mental health.

To explore further, contact the NPA Employment Law Advisory Service Team on 0330 123 0558 or email employmentadvice@npa.co.uk 

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