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When an employee is absent from work because of mental illness, there are things you can do as a manager, for example, keeping in contact either by email or by phone, which is part of a return to work initiative and not a token call. If you're calling, it's important to ensure that you are calling to genuinely find out how they're doing and not to put pressure on them to return to work before they feel that they're ready to do so. Ask how they are doing and keep them up-to-date with any work-related changes you feel are relevant. Depending on the type or level of mental health illness and the individual's rehabilitation plan, at some point, it will be appropriate to look at the process returning to work. For some people, coming back may be a huge barrier to overcome due to embarrassment, fear and being unsure how they'll be received by their colleagues or customers. For others, it may be a rush to get back to work, as work is a key component of their lives. As such they may rush their GP into being signed fit to return to work when they're not fully ready.

Having a process of support, a phased return-to-work model and review process while at work to ensure mental health and wellness is something that needs to be in place, monitored and addressed positively. Further risk assessments may be required for the absentee prior to coming back to work. If they are on medication that can affect their health or safety and that of others who they may come into contact with. Supporting the individual's team during the absence is also important and regular contact in regards to their colleague's progress must be fed back. Elements of confidentiality must be maintained at all times and only with the absentee's consent, can information be disclosed.