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Mental health absence guide for small to medium-sized businesses launches online

A new online guide which allows employers and staff to talk about mental health has been made available to businesses across the UK.

The Return to Work toolkit gives bosses and their employees information, downloadable material and advice on how best approach absences and returns due to stress, anxiety or depression.

The website features templates for absence letters, facts about mental health, checklists for each stage of sick leave and a comprehensive guide for return to work, including exercises such as identifying work priorities.

Loughborough University’s Dr Fehmidah Munir, who helped develop the toolkit, said: “Mental health affects one-in-six people in the workplace, so the likelihood is, that if you work in a large office, a number of your colleagues have been through or are going through mental ill-health.

“There are currently no resources for employers and employees to help with taking the initial first steps to discussing mental health, absences or returning back after leave.

“Our toolkit is aimed predominantly at small and medium-sized businesses, which often don’t have the resources in place to deal with staff mental health.

“The toolkit is free and has been created in a such a way that it allows staff and their employers to communicate about successfully progressing back to work after a period of absence.”

The £150,000 project is a collaboration between Loughborough, Kingston University London and Affinity Health at Work, which specialises in improving workplace health, wellbeing, engagement and leadership.

All of the information has been gathered from evidenced-based research and from organisations such as the charity Mind, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and ACAS, which helps businesses prevent or resolve workplace problems.

Mental health toolkit website

The website guides employers and employees through six steps starting with the initial absence through to a healthy return and work environment.

1)      Dealing with the initial absence

2)      Developing knowledge and skills

3)      Maintaining communication

4)      Preparing for return to work

5)      Return to work conversation

6)      Keeping healthy and productive at work

Dr Jo Yarker, the project lead from Kingston, said: “We are looking for employees, employers and small businesses to trial the toolkit so if you are interested in taking part, please get in touch with Rebecca on  r.peters@kingston.ac.uk and she will provide further information with regards to the next steps.”

For more information visit: https://returntoworkmh.co.uk

ENDS

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 18/44

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Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world to study sports-related subjects in the 2018 QS World University Rankings and top in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 6th in the Guardian University League Table 2018, 7th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and 10th in The UK Complete University Guide 2018. It was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.

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