HR: Mental Health and Wellbeing

HR: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Posted  28th April 2021

This session was centred around Top Tips and Supportive measures that can be put in place to help manage staff’s Mental Health and Wellbeing in a pro-active manner to potentially help increase attendance.

Tip 1. Make sure you utilise line managers effectively.

Ensure that you make use of your line managers to regularly check in with members of staff. These could be informal / formal meetings, but making sure these meetings are use to flag up any potential early concerns in regards to Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Should anything of concern come up in one of these check-ins, use this as a platform to see how you could potentially further support the staff member. Pro-actively managing these situations early on could potentially help prevent long periods of absence.

Tip 2. Ensure you are making contact / trying to make contact if a member of staff has gone off sick.

You are allowed to make reasonable contact with the member of staff to check-in on them and potentially try and arrange welfare discussions and conversations. There is a good chance that if you engage as early as possible to try and get down to the root of the problem, the member of staff might return sooner than their fit now once rectified.
However, if you have tried to make contact and the staff member have let you know that they are not in right mind space to have a discussion currently, this needs to be respected, as long as it’s deemed as a reasonable amount of time. It is a good idea to set out clear time frames to when it is possible to contact and agree these. This cannot be the situation that rolls on for months on end.

Tip 3. Ensure you utilise return-to-work meetings, regardless of the length of absence.

Always have a return-to-work meeting once the staff member has come back, regardless of the nature or length of absence.
It might seem like overkill at the time, but there are various benefits for doing so:

  • You can check-in to see what is really going on and put strategies in place to prevent further absences
  • It gives you the opportunity to offer further support if needed
  • If you have regular offenders that like to, for example, take Friday’s off, they may be less likely in doing so if they know they must always have these meetings on returning to work.
  • It can be helpful to track any potential patterns
  • It might help to keep an eye on any trigger points and remind staff if they are close to reaching these.

Tip 4. Arrange a formal meeting if a trigger point has been reached.

If this is due to short-term absence, regardless of it being for Mental Health, these meetings can still be held once a trigger point has been reached. You do not have to wait for to return to work or the staff member physically present to have these.
However, if they are off on long-term sickness absence due to Stress or Mental Health, follow your long-term sickness absence policy as you cannot be seen to give warnings to / have disciplinaries with a staff member with a disability.

Tip 5. Ensure you follow up on any agreed actions.

After every meeting or conversation / contact you have with the staff member, both the school and staff member will know what the next contact will look like.

For example:

  • Will you be phoning them in two weeks for a catch-up or welfare chat?
  • Phone them on the expiry of their fit note?
  • Will you be sending them to Occupational Health?
  • Are you going to arrange a formal absence review meeting?

Examples of additional practices schools have put in place for support.

  • All members of staff leave school at 4pm on Fridays.
  • Create Workload & Wellbeing committees/groups to discuss and ensure staff needs are being met.
  • Put in place Counselling, EAP support, online nurse consultations and OH support.
  • Arranged staff online fun activities and games, for example Quiz night, Bingo etc.
  • Gave members of staff a wellbeing day off, once a year.
  • Did positive mindset training for all staff.
  • Complimentary refreshments, for example - Chocolate biscuit Fridays, Breakfast butties, World Cake day, PPA at home or have the SLT cook breakfast.
  • Family Day – Allow one day, per member of staff, per year to attend a child event / sports day / family day out.
  • Informed staff about the headspace / calm / unmind app.
  •  Introduced ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’
  • Weekly staff newsletter signposting wellbeing apps, good programmes, documentaries, recommendations, books, podcasts etc
  • A Physio session (online) to help with increased screen working
  • Reduced work meetings and length of meetings
  • Ban/limit out of hours emails
  • Reviewing key policies, marketing / feedback / planning assessment / review work life balance
  • Create a safe space/staff relaxation area - where staff can take their non-contact time. Set up with activities to promote safe mixing.
  • Resilience and stress management training
  • Trained mental health first aiders
  • Referrals to Mind

If you require any support in any of these steps, or would like to talk to someone surrounding some support for your school please do not hesitate to call us on 0203 326 9174 or email