How can your employer help you?

Employers have legal duties around mental health and can support you in many ways.

How can your employer help you?

Most employers will be sympathetic and do everything they can to help the people in their organisation. Employers also have legal duties around mental health, particularly where someone has been clearly identified as having a mental health difficulty, e.g. through a GP or other health professional’s diagnosis.

People with a clearly identified mental health difficulty will generally have legal protections under the Equality Act 2010. This means that:

  • Employers must ensure they do not discriminate against people due to mental health difficulties.

  • If someone has a mental health difficulty and it may affect their work, employers must try to reduce the impact of the person’s health condition on their ability to work. They must also ensure they are getting the right support at work.

  • Often, simple workplace changes can allow people with mental health conditions to continue working productively. These are known as “reasonable adjustments” and an employer has a duty to consider them if they know a person is experiencing a mental health difficulty.

  • Whilst many people with mental health conditions might not consider themselves to be disabled, their condition might be considered a disability under the Equality Act 2010 if it has a substantial impact on their day-to-day life over a long period.

Whether the Equality Act applies or not, it is still good practice for employers to make reasonable adjustments to support staff who need it.

What are reasonable adjustments by your employer?

“Reasonable” means an adjustment that is effective for you without being too disruptive, costly or impractical for the employer to provide.

“Reasonable adjustments” could include such things as:

  • allowing the use of paid or unpaid leave for medical appointments

  • taking a flexible approach to start/finish times and/or shift patterns

  • providing a quiet space for breaks away from the main workspace

  • increasing the frequency of supervision

  • supporting someone to prioritise their work

  • providing a job coach

If you are discussing your mental health with your employer, it will be helpful to think if there are reasonable adjustments they could make to allow you to work at your best.

A plan for your employer to support your mental health

If your mental wellbeing is creating real challenges, your employer can help you to create a clear plan about the support that you need. A Wellness Action Plan helps to set out clearly how any difficulties with mental health are affecting work and what you and your employer can both do. It should cover:

  • things you can do yourself to support your mental wellbeing

  • early warning signs of poor mental health that your manager or supervisor can look out for any workplace triggers for poor mental health or stress

  • how poor mental health might affect on your performance

  • what support you need from your manager

  • actions and positive steps you and your manager will take if you experience stress or poor mental health

  • an agreed time to review the Wellbeing Action Plan and any other support measures, to see if they’re working

  • anything else that you feel would be useful in supporting your mental health

Download the MIND Wellness Action Plan

If you think this would be helpful, ask your employer to make time where you can work through your plan.

You can download copies of the Wellness Action Plan from the MIND website:

Download Wellness Action Plan from the MIND website

From time to time you might need extra support with your mental health. We’ve listed some key support organisations who can help.

Find support organisations for mental health

Read our useful guides

In partnership with mental health charity Penumbra we have compiled two guides to accompany this web resource. These will help you to find ways to talk to your employer and support your own mental health at work.

View PDF guide Mental Health and Wellbeing Support for Apprentices

View PDF guide Looking after Mental Health at Work

Explore the rest of our Mental Health resource

What is mental health?

We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health.

What are mental health difficulties?

What we mean by mental health difficulties and what can help at work.

Looking after your mental health at work

Work can often help our mental wellbeing. However, sometimes work brings pressures which add to mental health problems.

Talking to your employer about mental health

Advice about talking to your employer or learning provider to get mental health support.

Go to start of resource

You'll find links to the other parts of the resource as well as a list of mental health support organisations.

Support for you - apprenticeships 2 432 x 288

If you need support

We're grateful to mental health charity Penumbra for providing advice and information on mental health for this resource. If you need support, you should contact your GP or professional mental-health support organisation.

You can find mental health organisations at the start of this resource.