Minding work absence

Free online toolkit launched.

A free online toolkit has recently been released to help employers and staff when someone returns to work after a mental health problem. Developed by researchers from Kingston University, Loughborough University and Affinity Health at Work, the website guides employers and employees through six steps, including how to deal with absence and communicate about mental health.

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

Dr Jo Yarker, Associate Professor in Occupational and Business Psychology (Kingston University), said managing absence was a challenge for many businesses. ‘Recovery works best when employees and employers talk early on and continue talking. Knowing what to say, and what to do, can be difficult, so we have developed the toolkit using the most up-to-date evidence about what works.’

Loughborough University’s Dr Fehmidah Munir, a Reader in Health Psychology, who helped develop the toolkit, said many people will have experienced working alongside someone with mental health issues. ‘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 very few resources out there for employers and employees to help with taking the initial steps to discussing mental health, absences or returning back after leave. The toolkit we have developed is free and has been created in a way that it allows staff and employers to communicate about successfully progressing back to work.’ 

To see the toolkit and other resources visit returntoworkmh.co.uk

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