Thriving at Work: a review of mental health and employers

A Policy Briefing aimed at healthcare professionals is available for LKS staff to share in their own organisations. This has been produced and shared by the JET Library, Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Please feel free to reproduce it (with acknowledgement to JET Library) for your own purposes.

Impact on library policy/practice: 

Whilst this driver is something that needs to be implemented at a higher level, there are still some things libraries can do to support it and the document demonstrates that investment in mental-health initiatives show a positive return.

Firstly, all NHS libraries contribute to the provision of information to patients and the public, and there are a number of suggestions in the PPI Ideas Bank that support mental wellbeing, including:

  • Offering work placements in the library team for service users recovering from mental illness.
  • Service user reading groups or book clubs
  • Provide materials for Recovery Colleges
  • Provide access to self-help collections such as the Reading Agency’s Books on Prescription titles, or Mood Boosting books

Libraries also support the wellbeing of staff (as recommended in the Boorman review), and this might be through self-help book collections, craft or reading groups, stress relief initiatives such as jigsaws and colouring books, organising mindfulness training, writing competitions, organising ‘pets as therapy’ sessions, or in many other ways. As well as staff, the needs of students need to be considered, and many universities are running programmes to support their students especially during exam time and NHS libraries might be involved in these, run their own, or signpost to them.

Libraries can also support managers to support their staff, and could look at what resources they have on managing staff wellbeing or engagement.

Whilst these are no substitute for formal mental health support, they are things that could help promote mental wellbeing and reduce the burden of mental ill-health on the individual and the organisation.

Source: Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health

Link to main document

Publication format: PDF

Date of publication: October 2017

Summary of driver: Thriving at Work sets out what employers can do to better support all employees, including those with mental health problems to remain in and thrive through work.

Key features of driver:

  • 300,000 people with long-term mental-health problems lose their jobs every year
  • Around 15% of people in work have symptoms of an existing mental-health condition
  • The cost to employers of mental ill-health is estimated at between £33bn and £42bn
  • The cost to the Government is estimated at between £24bn and £27bn
  • The cost to the economy as a whole is estimated at between £74bn and £99bn
  • Case studies consistently show a positive return on investment for mental-health initiatives
  • Employers should:
    • Produce, implement and communicate a mental-health-at-work plan
    • Develop mental-health awareness among employees
    • Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available
    • Provide employees with good working conditions
    • Promote effective people management
    • Routinely monitor employees’ mental health and wellbeing
  • Larger employers should increase transparency through internal and external reporting and provide tailored in-house mental-health support
  • In the public sector:
    • Regulatory bodies should include employers’ handling of mental health in assessments
    • Senior leaders should have a performance objective of supporting mental health
    • NHS England should continue developing its Healthy Workforce programme
    • Employers should identify people at higher risk of stress or trauma and produce a national framework to support them
  • The Government should:
    • Form a mental-health online information portal to promote best practice
    • The Access to Work, Fit for Work and other NHS services should be aligned to create an integrated in-work support service
    • The Government should protect and promote the current tax reliefs for mental-health schemes
    • Legislate to enhance protections for employees with mental-health problems
    • Statutory sick pay should be more flexible to make a phased return to work easier
    • NHS bodies should provide clear ratings for apps and other digital platforms which provide mental-health support
    • Government and the NHS should improve patients’ access to their medical records so patients can share their data with employers should they wish to

Primary audience: Employers and managers, both public and private sector

Date last updated: November 2017

Due for review: November 2018

Group member responsible: JC


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