Work and Mental Health – A guide to managing work with a mental health problem
Buzz Manchester Health & Wellbeing Service
Work can help the body and mind by providing a routine and structure to the day as well as give you a sense of purpose.
Work can give us financial benefits, security, sense of self-reliance and independence.
Work can prevent you from mental health problems, but you need to find the right balance and place of work.
Working in general is good for your mental health.
If you feel like your work is causing you stress and starts to be a problem you should talk to your line manager and they should help you with the problem.
You can protect your mental health and help your body to deal with stress by:
There are five ways to wellbeing in the workplace:
You need to create your own balance. A balanced life can include:
Try to work smart, not hard. Rank your tasks and then focus on each one in turn.
Take proper brakes and try to stick to your hours as far as possible – working long hours can have an increasing, harmful effect on your wellbeing
Your mental health can benefit from work if you:
Common causes of stress:
Telling your employer about your mental health problems
Stigma about poor mental health still exists within the workplace.
The Equality Act 2010
Getting better and support
Thoughts of being unable to cope are common with mental health issues. It is best not to make any big life decisions when you are unwell.
Don’t resign or quit your job, remember to keep sending your fit notes to work on time. When it is time for you to go back to work, think about what would help you to carry out your job when you return.
It is vital to attend your formal workplace meetings when you can. You can communicate your feelings, treatments and recovery.
Getting support at work
Out of work support
Your friends and family can provide support as can your GP. You can also access mental health services such as Primary Care Mental Health Teams services.
An occupational therapist can offer specialist support with work issues such as:
Keeping in touch
When you are off work it is good to stay in touch with your workplace to reduce the build up of barriers and worries about work making it easier to go back once you are ready.
Informal methods to keep in touch:
Formal methods to keep in touch:
Dealing with negative thoughts about being off work
‘I cannot be seen out by people who know me through work’
‘I feel guilty about being off work’
‘People might not believe I am really ill’
‘What do I say to colleagues if they ask about my health or what’s been wrong?’
Plan your return to work
You do not have to be 100% better to go back to work. Returning to work can be part of your recovery. It works best when you can plan and time it well.
To build up your resilience and confidence to work you can:
Formal return to work
It helps to plan your return with your manager.
These are some ideas to consider:
Ideas about phased returns to work:
For a full guide visit: https://d1jw0l0b625fbx.cloudfront.net/docs/Work-and-Mental-Health-December-2016.pdf
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