Managing a return to work after covid-19 and mental health
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Workplace Mental Health Signposting


Build confidence in supporting yourself and your staff


Having a robust mental health signposting list is key for any organisation to have. It is also important to let your line managers know what internal supports your organisation provides and if you aren’t sure, find out and let them know. Employees might be able to access an Employee Assistance Programme, Occupational Health or dedicated apps or websites if they are available.

You could encourage employees to complete a Wellness Action Plan (WAP) and share it with their line manager if they feel comfortable doing so. Everyone can complete a WAP and you don't need to have a diagnosed mental health condition in order to feel the benefits. It just means that the individual will already have practical steps in place to ensure they are supported when they aren't feeling great.

Below are some organisations and supports that you can add to your signposting list. Make sure your employees know who they can talk to. Share these resources with line managers to equip them with the tools to effectively signpost their employees to resources that may be able to help them:

Working Health Services Scotland. Working Health Services Scotland (WHSS) provides free and confidential advice and health support (physiotherapy, counselling and OT) to the self-employed and individuals employed by companies with less than 250 employees. You can call them on: 0800 019 2211 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or self refer online: https://referrer.salus.co.uk/

Another free counselling and support service that your employees could access is Able Futures. They deliver free mental health advice (including free counselling) to employers and providers of apprenticeships, as well as directly helping individuals. It is a service to help people with mental health difficulties perform well in work. There’s no waiting lists and they will get back in touch with you within 1 working day. You can self refer by telephone: 0800 321 3137 (8am to 10.30pm, Monday to Friday) or online: https://www.able-futures.co.uk/ (Their website also contains loads of useful information and advice).

Breathing Space is a free, confidential phone and web based service for people in Scotland experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety. The service is available (Weekdays: Monday-Thursday 6pm to 2am) and (Weekend: Friday 6pm-Monday 6am). When you phone Breathing Space, the call will be answered by one of their specialist advisors. They come from a range of mental health, counselling and social work backgrounds. They will listen, and can offer advice and, if appropriate, let you know about help in your local area: 0800 83 85 87.

The Samaritans are a charity that are there round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They offer a safe place to talk any time people like, in their own way – about whatever’s getting to them. They can be contacted anytime on: 116 123

Moodjuice is an NHS Forth Valley resource but anyone can access it. It is a website designed to offer information, advice to those experiencing troublesome thoughts, feelings and actions. It offers advice, support and printable workbooks on the following topics: anger, assertiveness, anxiety, stress, chronic pain, bereavement, phobias, depression, PTSD, obsession & compulsions, sleep problems, shyness, addiction and carers support. 

NHS Choices Moodzone offers free practical advice, interactive tools, videos and audio guides to help you feel mentally and emotionally better. It is specifically tailored for managing: stress, anxiety and depression.

MIND. Self care for anxiety - This guide from MIND explains anxiety and panic attacks, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. It includes tips for helping yourself.

NHS. Low mood, sadness and depression - Here on this NHS webpage you can read practical tips and advice on what to do if you're struggling with a low mood, sadness or depression.

NHS Inform have a range of online supports providing advice on dealing with low mood, anxiety, phobias, stress and where you can get help.

We all know that these are worrying and uncertain times. The coronavirus outbreak has changed daily life for us all in Scotland and has had a real impact on how many of us are feeling. It's ok to not feel yourself right now, and the Clear Your Head website has some great tips to help get you through it. These help and support links from the website can also be shared with your employees: https://clearyourhead.scot/support

At Healthy Working Lives, we recognise that this is a challenging time and planning a return to the workplace will require consideration of many practical and operational issues. 

Individuals will have dealt with the pandemic and its consequences in different ways, some will have continued to work at home, some unable to work due to health conditions, some may have been furloughed. On top of this there may be fear and anxiety around the impact of health, finances and relationships. 

To support you to manage your workforce in planning a return we have produced a toolkit, including a stress risk assessment for individuals and teams, to help you plan for staff returning to the workplace during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: Healthy Working Lives. Return to Work Toolkit.


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