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Facing the challenge of mental ill health in the workplace

Jill Joyce (Based at Research and Information Services, IOSH, Leicester, UK)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 21 June 2013




This paper aims to outline the extent and cost of work‐related mental ill health and the challenges it causes in the workplace. It focuses on what employers can do to facilitate an early return to work for those absent from work. It argues for a proactive approach to the management of mental ill health in the workplace and highlights the important role of the line manager. Good practice from Europe is reported.


This paper reviews evidence from the HSE, EU_OSHA and IOSH.


Rather than only dealing reactively with cases of mental ill health in the workplace, it is more effective for an employer to adopt a proactive approach, recognising that employees are a valuable asset, assessing psychosocial risks and promoting health and wellbeing. This involves not only protecting their employees from work‐related health and safety risks, but also helping employees with minor conditions to stay at work, for example, by negotiating flexible hours. Employees also need opportunities to look after their own health and wellbeing at work. Finally, it is important to create a culture where working with a mental health condition is accepted by other employees as normal.


The paper highlights the importance of a proactive management approach to managing mental ill health.



Joyce, J. (2013), "Facing the challenge of mental ill health in the workplace", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 93-97.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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