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Maintaining Employment

In this area you will find information about the support and help available to help you to stay well in the workplace.

Staying Well in the Workplace

Being in paid employment can bring security, stability and structure to people’s lives. Unemployment generally leads to poor physical health, poor mental health, and poverty. Being in paid employment is considered to be a good thing. Not only does it provide structure to your day and give you the financial resources to live a better life, it also provides you with a social network and friendship.

Being in employment can sometimes be stressful and for someone who has experienced mental health issues this can be particularly difficult.

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Causes of Workplace Stress: Mind have produced a checklist of possible causes of stress in the workplace, to find out more click here.

Recognising what triggers stress in the workplace for you means that you can take steps to tacking the stress before it make you unwell. Mind have produced a guide for tacking workplace stress, for more information click here.

If you are getting stressed at work here are a few suggestions that might help you calm down and relax:

  • Having a brief period of time out – maybe even going for a walk outside to unwind and relax yourself
  • Having a quiet place to go away from your colleagues, a quiet room or place if you can relax better on your own
  • An identified colleague go to who will help you unwind and calm down – this might work if you want someone to listen to you
  • Learning relaxation techniques, for more information on how to do this click here.

It’s a question of learning what helps you de-stress, everyone is different. When you know what type of help you might need in the future you should speak to your employer or line manager, in advance, about what will help you de-stress in the workplace and come to a mutual agreement before a situation arises.

If you are worried about a colleague the Mental Health Foundation have produced a booklet called What Works For You, to see this booklet click here.

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Getting Help

If you are worried about your mental health, or others are concerned about you, you may want to seek advice or help. If you work in a big organisation then they may have an occupational health service or department and they should be able to help you whilst understanding your place of work. If there isn’t an occupational health service where you are working, or you do not feel comfortable about speaking to them, you should go to your GP to discuss how you feel. Click here for more information.

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Returning to Work

Returning to work after a period of being unwell can cause anxiety, remember though that being away from work after a period of mental ill health should be treated the same as returning to work after any period of illness such as an operation. It is natural to feel a little anxious but often colleagues will just be pleased to see you back in the workplace.

Below are some ways of preparing yourself to get back into work:

  • keep in touch socially with colleagues
  • visit your workplace before your planned return date, just to drop in and say hello and to re-familiarise yourself
  • if you need to be eased back into work, ask before returning if you can build up your hours gradually
  • if you really need to change your work or role, speak to your employer or line manager about short term adjustments to help you get back into work

Mind have produced a guide which includes these tips as well as how you can make adjustments to your working patterns, some of which you can do yourself and others which you should discuss with your employer. To see this information click here.

If you want to speak to someone outside of your place of employment about reasonable adjustments to your working practice you can speak to a Disability Employment Advisor (DEA). For more information on DEAs click here. DEAs work as part of Jobcentre Plus.

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Your Rights at Work

The Disability and Equality Act 2010 means that it is unlawful to discriminate against disabled people in the work place, to find out more click here.

Direct.Gov also has specific information about the Equality Act 2010 and the workplace. For more information click here.

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against disabled people. The disability parts of the act cover:

  • recruitment procedures and proficiency tests
  • terms of employment including pay
  • promotion, transfer and training opportunities
  • dismissal or redundancy
  • discipline and grievances

To find out more about your rights under the Equality Act 2010 click here.

Mind also have a helpful online guide to your rights in the workplace, click here for more information.

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Should I tell my Employer if I have a mental Illness?

Deciding whether to tell an employer that you have experienced mental health issues is a very difficult decision. In an ideal world there would be no prejudice or misconceptions about mental ill health, but in reality this unfortunately does not often happen.

Mind have produced some excellence guidance about deciding whether or not to disclose mental ill health to your employer, you can access this information by clicking here.

The potential risks of disclosing something about your mental health history include:

  • not getting the job
  • being harassed by other employees
  • being assumed to be a less productive member of the team
  • having fewer opportunities for career development
  • being treated as more vulnerable than other employees, or having everything (anger, excitement, time off sick, or a grievance) associated with your mental illness
  • coming under closer scrutiny than other employees, and having to work harder to gain the same respect.

The potential benefits of disclosure are:

  • being open about it can encourage others in the same situation
  • keeping it secret may be too stressful, or against your beliefs
  • it gives you a stronger basis for requesting adjustments to your job or work environment
  • it could give you the opportunity to involve an outside adviser or support worker, who could see you at work or speak directly with your employer
  • it could make it easier to go into work at times when your symptoms are greater
  • it enables you to enlist the support of colleagues
  • additional information, advice and guidance

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Addtional Information, Advice and Guidance

Mind have also produced a indepth guide to surviving working life which is full of additional information, advice and guidance to help you stay well at work, you can access the guide by clicking here.

Disability Law Service (DLS) is run by and for disabled people and is a registered national charity. DLS provide high quality information and advice to disabled people and their families, carers and advocates. to access their website click here.

DLS provides advice and information in these areas:

  • disability discrimination
  • goods and services
  • community care
  • employment
  • welfare benefits

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Click here for their website.

Telephone: 0845 604 6610

Citizens Advice Bureau for independent, impartial, confidential and free advice.

Click here for their website.

Citizens Advice  Bureau also have an online frequently asked question section concerning employment advice which you can access by clicking here.

Direct.gov.uk has information about employment rights and services and careers advice.

Click here for their website.

TUC

The TUC (Trade Union Congress) have also produced some information on basic rights in the workplace, to access this information click here.

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