Supporting employee mental health this Time To Talk Day


Feb 3, 2022


February 3 is Time to Talk Day, where mental health charity Mind and Rethink Mental Illness remind us all of the need to talk about mental health.  

 With 1 in 4 of us experiencing mental health issues every year, we need a greater awareness and understanding about the impacts on individuals and those around them, and further education and signposting of the ways in which we can support our own mental health and others.  

Above all, we need to eliminate the stigma that is often still associated with mental health issues and having a conversation about it is a good place to start.   

We’re all too aware just how much of an impact mental health can have on people’s lives. As our Occupational Clinical Lead, Kerry Dulac says, “Prevention is so important in the workplace, and therefore knowing how to identify a deterioration in an employee’s mental health, and having the services and resources available that can be easily accessed can help to reduce sick leave.”   

HCML work with businesses to assess, identify and provide treatment and support to employees who are struggling with mental health. We are seeing an increase in these types of cases, unsurprisingly, given the pandemic. But these types of problems can stem from a variety of personal circumstances.  

Case study 

HCML provides 1-2-1 confidential counselling sessions for a number of our clients. On this occasion, a session with the HCML case manager allowed the employee to talk through their personal circumstances which centred around their child’s health. This was causing them a great deal of anxiety and was impacting their ability to carry out their job effectively, as well as every day activities.  

The case manager discussed the issues with the employee and advised that further assessment and treatment could be provided by HCML via employer referral. In the meantime, the case manager provided a range of self-managed exercises to manage anxiety and relevant support services such as family and young person’s support services to address their child’s health.  

The individual was happy to be referred to HCML, and an It’s The Time To Talk assessment was completed, indicating severe levels of anxiety and depression. With the support of the HCML case manager, the employee felt able to speak to their GP and was subsequently referred for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to address their anxiety.  

The case manager was also able to address the wider personal circumstances of the employee, discussing and advising on further interventions such as accessing CBT for their child via the services already available to them.  

With regards to work, the HCML case manager was able to support the employee in a conversation with their line manager and HR to explore a phased return to work with relevant interventions in place to ensure a successful and sustained return.  

Mental health in the workplace 

There are many ways in which businesses can support their workforce without having to get involved in people’s personal circumstances.  

“Services such as confidential counselling, self-referral to EAP and wellbeing counsellors, regular supervision, mental health first aiders, occupational health, access to self management resources, and mental health awareness training are all valuable resources to maximise the health and wellbeing of employees,” explains Kerry.  

“Now with the increase in remote working and employees adapting to working from home, reviewing services and establishing effective communication pathways between the employer, employee and easy access to services will help to support a healthier workforce.” 

And it’s this support that HCML can help all kinds of businesses with. As one of our long standing customers says, “We’ve worked closely with HCML for several years to provide our Occupational Health service for MSK and Mental Health related issues. The employee experience is straightforward, efficient and importantly enables the individual to feel empowered throughout the process. Individuals receive bespoke guidance which focuses on removing barriers they face. HCML reports are solution focused getting the employee back to work as soon as they are well enough.”