Supporting Mental Health - Our Tesco


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Supporting Mental Health

Internal, Supporting Mental Health, Version1, Page 1 of 10

Where to find things. Introduction .................................................................................................................................................................... 3 1.

Why do we have this guide? .................................................................................................................................. 3

2.

What is mental health? .......................................................................................................................................... 3

3.

What is stress? ........................................................................................................................................................ 3

4.

What causes stress? ............................................................................................................................................... 3

5.

How do I know if someone is suffering from stress/mental ill health? ............................................................ 4

6.

How can I support colleagues who are feeling stressed? .................................................................................. 5

7.

How can I reduce the risk of stress in my team? ................................................................................................. 5

8.

Do we have any legal responsibilities? ................................................................................................................ 6

9.

How can I encourage colleagues to talk about mental ill health?..................................................................... 6

10.

What should I do if a colleague has a mental health crisis at work? ............................................................. 7

11.

How should I manage sickness absence for mental health conditions? ...................................................... 7

12.

What kind reasonable adjustments should I consider making with regard to mental ill health? ............. 8

13.

How should I plan for their return to work? .................................................................................................... 8

14.

What do I need to be aware of, if a colleague is prescribed with medication? ............................................ 9

15.

Related reading ................................................................................................................................................... 9

16.

Useful contacts ................................................................................................................................................... 9

Guide information. ......................................................................................................................................................... 9 Guide owner: [email protected] .................................................................................................... 9 Ownership and confidentiality ..................................................................................................................................... 9

Internal, Supporting Mental Health, Version1, Page 2 of 10

Introduction

2.

What is mental health?

Mental ill health is now one of the main reasons for

Mental

absence across the UK; to improve this, it is recognised

Organisation as ‘Mental health is a state of wellbeing in

that we should promote a culture of positive mental health

which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can

and wellbeing both at work and at home. The support

cope with the normal stresses of life, can work

colleagues receive is the key in determining how well and

productively and fruitfully and is able to make a

how quickly they are able to recover from an episode of

contribution to his or her own community’.

Health

is

defined

by

the

World

Health

mental ill health, so it’s vital we understand our colleague’s needs and how we can support them.

The definition of ‘mental ill health’ or ‘mental health problems’ covers a very wide spectrum, from the worries

We all have mental health – it moves up and down a

and grief we all experience as part of everyday life to the

scale from good to poor and it’s affected by many factors.

most bleak, suicidal depression or complete loss of touch

Mental health conditions vary widely and impact people

with everyday reality.

very differently, even something which seems minor or trivial to some can have a devastating effect on another

Everybody responds differently to the stresses and

individual. Persistent mental health conditions can often

strains of modern life and it is common to describe

escalate into more serious conditions and therefore it’s

ourselves as ‘depressed’, ‘stressed’ or ‘anxious’ at times.

important that we are able to recognise the signs and

For some, these feelings can become serious enough to

support our colleagues when they need it.

make it difficult to carry on with everyday life.

Although we are starting to hear more about mental

3.

What is stress?

health in the media, it’s sometimes a subject which people feel uncomfortable talking about and is not well

Lots of us talk about stress and feeling stressed in certain

known, unless it impacts you or your family or friends

situations, when we’ve got lots to do both in and outside

But it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or

directly.

of work or when we feel we’re under too much pressure.

difficult – it’s just about talking! Stress is defined by the Health and Safety Executive as This guide should be read in conjunction with the

‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures

Supporting Disability guide.

or other types of demand placed on them at work’ – although this applies to the working environment it can

1.

Why do we have this guide?

apply to home life too.

We have this guide to help you manage and support

Stress is not a medical condition, but research shows that

anyone in your team who has a mental health condition,

long periods of or severe feelings of stress can lead to

so they’re able to carry out their job to the best of their

diagnosed conditions such as depression and anxiety or

ability and meet the requirements we need in our roles. It

to more severe mental or physical health conditions.

talks about simple, practical and often inexpensive things that we can do to spot the signs of mental ill health,

4.

What causes stress?

support our colleagues and promote a culture of A number of things can cause stress and these don’t

wellbeing.

necessarily all have to be negative, sometimes it’s just We want to create a safe, supportive and inclusive

about a lack of control or uncertainty in a given situation.

working environment for all our colleagues and therefore it’s important that we understand any challenges our colleagues may face when working for us, and try to deal with these as best we can.

Some of the common stressful events are: 

getting married



moving house



having a baby

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organising an event

can do to help you?’ or ‘I’ve noticed you’ve been late



dealing with a bereavement

recently, is everything okay?’



serious illness of yourself or family or friends



job security or unemployment

If you know a colleague has something going on outside



changing jobs

of work, then ask about that as well, you don’t need to pry



relocating

or ask personal/confidential information, just show an



divorce or relationship problems

interest to gain an understanding of whether it could be



caring responsibilities

impacting them at work. For example, ‘how are the plans



money worries

for your wedding going?’ If they’re getting married; or ‘how is your mum?’ if you know their mum has been ill.

Stress is often not solely ‘work or home related’ and can be influenced by many factors such as relationships and

If a colleague is experiencing mental ill health at work,

support systems at home, personality and coping

they need to feel that they are able to talk to you about it

mechanisms (the way you deal with things).

without the fear of any repercussions. You’re not expected to diagnose their condition, just listen and try to

Stress doesn’t always have to be a negative thing, and

understand how they are feeling, even if it feels

sometimes a certain amount of stress can help us to

uncomfortable or alien to you, what they are experiencing

perform at our best and make a task more enjoyable, for

is real and important to them. Remember:

example, when taking an exam or organising a party. Although it’s recognised that a certain level of pressure at



keep the conversation positive and supportive;

work can motivate us, when the balance is tipped and the



don’t make assumptions about how someone is or isn’t feeling or about what they need; and

pressure becomes too much, that’s when it turns from a 

positive to a negative thing.

talk about the issues, how you can help them and consider making adjustments where you need to.

Stress doesn’t just come from having too much to do; it can also be triggered when there is not enough work,

Obviously not everyone is happy to open up and talk

from feelings of boredom or being under-valued.

about their mental health and you should never force the conversation, unless you have concerns about their ability

People can feel stressed in a variety of circumstances

to perform their role or the state of their mental health, i.e.

and what stresses one person will not stress another – it’s

you feel they are a danger to themselves or other

therefore important that we don’t make assumptions

colleagues/customers.

around this.

information.

5.

There are also a number of changes in typical behaviour

How do I know if someone is suffering from stress/mental ill health?

See section ten for more

that you can watch out for such as:

Knowing your teams and the colleagues working around



poor or a drop in performance

you is key - it’s important to talk to your teams and other



appearing tired or anxious

colleagues to understand how they are feeling, especially



increased lateness or absence

if you know it’s a particularly busy time or they have



lack of concentration

something going on outside of work. This doesn’t have to



lack of motivation or focus

be a formal discussion, it can just be an informal



struggling to make decisions or find solutions

conversation when you see them or during one to ones,



avoiding situations and/or people

just saying ‘hello, how are you?’ and asking how work is



withdrawing from social situations/events

can be a conversation starter. If you have concerns or



tearfulness

you have noticed changes in their behaviour, you could



withdrawn

ask more open questions such as ‘Is there anything we



changes in how they interact with others



mood swings

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being aggressive

energy/concentration levels and build a work plan



drinking more alcohol

around this.



smoking more



substance abuse



increased or loss of appetite

6.



you’re not doing the same things all day. 

health, so trying to improve these can benefit wellbeing. Going for a walk during a break if the colleague is sitting down for a long period or resting if they’re on their feet all day and eating a healthy

causing them to feel stressed; identifying what has triggered the feeling may mean that you are able to tackle the root cause. It may be that it’s a combination of things

lunch or snack to refuel the body can also help. 

resources we can tell colleagues about.

to be done. 

you should complete a stress risk assessment and make

silence worrying about things. 

improve wellbeing as well as developing an interest

colleague and may recommend counselling or trauma support – depending on the circumstances. Completing this document with the colleague may also help identify the cause of the issue.

or hobby outside of work. 

when they start to feel stressed and how they cope

reduce the feelings of stress or enable the colleague to

with this. 

often being still, breathing correctly and trying to clear your mind. It’s recommended that we have a

also the satisfaction of crossing them off when they’re done).

relaxation period every day, preferably at the same

Prioritise – what is urgent, what is not? Create a

time

realistic plan of what can be achieved and by when; Work through the things that need to be done one

e-mail whilst focusing on other tasks or only look at it



7.

at certain times of the day so they don’t get distracted by other things. Encourage them to tell you if they can’t do something by a certain time, don’t set unrealistic goals and be happy to wait, as long as a sensible timescale is given.

same

techniques

to

improve

Have fun – laughing has a huge amount of benefits

of

How can I reduce the risk of stress in my team?

Here are some hints and tips to help you reduce the risk of stress in your team: 

Make sure people have clear objectives and responsibilities so they know what they are here to

Help them identify when they’re at their best and time

the

for our body and mental health.

If colleagues are office based, they can close down

what

using

wellbeing.

task at a time.



Relax – this is different from doing something they enjoy such as a hobby; this is about being calm,

Create a ‘to do’ list, sometimes having things written down can make things seem less daunting (there’s



A suggestion to keep a diary of what’s happening in their life and how they are feeling may help identify

Here are some hints and tips of things that may help to



Trying something new can help with feelings of confidence and self-esteem.



feel more in control:

Do they make time for themselves? Spending time with friends and family is a very positive way to

a referral to Occupational Health, who will assess the



Talk to them about how they’re feeling and ask if they need help or support. Ask them not to sit in

For anyone who comes to you with work related stress,



Ask them to reflect on what’s been achieved during the day, rather than worrying about what still needs

including factors outside of work and whilst we can’t always directly help with these there are some additional

Everyone should be encouraged to take breaks – physical health and diet are closely linked to mental

How can I support colleagues who are feeling stressed?

Talk to the colleague to try and understand what is



Help them vary the tasks they do if they can so

the

day

they

have

deliver.

most

Internal, Supporting Mental Health, Version1, Page 5 of 10



Make sure their Personal Development Plan equips

Colleagues with mental ill health may be reluctant to talk

them to deliver their objectives in a flexible way,

about it for a number of reasons, some of these could be:

where possible. 

Ensure all new colleagues have a thorough induction



they have been treated badly, discriminated against

and are clear on what’s expected of them in their

or subjected to harassment or bullying when they

role.

have told someone previously



Carry out regular one to ones and progress reviews.



Hold regular team meetings.



they have witnessed someone else being treated badly, harassed or bullied





Involve colleagues in decision making.



Adopt an approach of ask more than tell. Listen and

they’re in denial about their condition or they feel they are coping (when clearly they are not)

be prepared to act on what they say.



they’re scared of losing their job



Be open, honest and fair with colleagues.



they believe other colleagues will judge them



Ensure any issues, such as discrimination, bullying, 

or harassment are dealt with immediately.   

unfavourably

Ensure any performance or disciplinary issues are dealt with fairly and quickly.

You can’t force anyone to talk about their mental health if

Encourage colleagues to give you feedback on

they don’t wish to, but you can encourage them as much

what’s working well and what’s not.

as possible by:

When it’s a busy period or a tight deadline is coming up – tell people and offer flexibility where you can,



Reassuring them that the conversation will remain confidential and that you will not discuss it with

for example if additional hours are needed. 

they’re worried about confidentiality

anyone without their consent.

Act on feedback from the ‘what matters to you 

survey’ and discuss with the team.

Encouraging them to talk – ask simple, open and non-judgmental questions.

8.

Do we have any legal responsibilities?



Not making assumptions – especially about what a colleague can or can’t do and/or about how their mental ill health affects them – let them tell you.

Yes, we have a duty to make sure that our colleagues are not made ill by their work. Failing to assess any risk from



stress or mental ill health and address these, could result

of discrimination will not be tolerated and appropriate

in claims.

action will be taken. 

Some

mental

depression,

Being clear that harassment, bullying and any form

health

conditions

schizophrenia,

such

obsessive

as

Be honest about things, if you have a concern about

bipolar,

the colleague’s absence or performance levels raise

compulsive

them at an early stage and create an action plan of

disorder as well as personality disorders and some selfharming behaviour fall into the definition of disability and

how you can address these together. 

Directing them to additional support such as their GP

are therefore protected under the Equality Act 2010. This

or the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) who

means we have a duty to consider and make reasonable

are independent and can offer advice and support

adjustment(s) for any candidate or colleague who has a

on a range of matters including a counselling

mental health condition which either meets the definition

service.

of disability or is a serious health condition, to ensure that



they are not at a substantial disadvantage to other non-

the conversation, it could be outside of the place of

disabled colleagues.

work, e.g. a local coffee shop. 

For more information on the Equality Act please read the Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy and Supporting Disability guide.

9.

Asking the colleague where they would like to have

Offering for someone else to be present during the conversation such as a family member or friend.



Asking if there is someone else they would prefer to talk to, e.g. someone of the same gender, ethnicity

How can I encourage colleagues to talk about mental ill health?

or someone who isn’t their manager.

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 





Asking them if they would like to talk to someone



someone to help calm you down or listen

from Occupational Health.



practice a certain relaxation or calming technique

Listening and responding flexibly – everyone is

In severe cases of mental ill health crisis where the

different and you need to tailor the support you offer

colleague is completely irrational, has lost touch with

to the colleague and their specific situation.

reality, is hallucinating or you fear they may harm

Developing a plan by working with the colleague to

themselves or others you should take them to a quiet and

identify signs of mental ill health, triggers for stress,

secure place, stay with them, talk to them calmly and

depression or anxiety and who to contact in a crisis

explain what you’re doing. Then contact the police and

(the best time to do this is when they are feeling

ambulance, followed by friends/family to tell them what

well).

you’ve done.

This can all be captured on the adjustment passport

11.

which contains a section for regular review.

How should I manage sickness absence for mental health conditions?

It’s important to remember that although you’re there to support the colleague you should not become overly

The process for managing mental ill health should be

involved and take on the role of their support worker or

pretty much the same as managing any other type of

carer. Be aware of your own limitations and what you can

sickness absence. However, keeping in contact with the

and can’t do – sometimes dealing with mental ill health

colleague is vital in cases of mental ill health, even if the

can have negative impact on your own wellbeing.

colleague is in hospital. Managers are often nervous of contacting colleagues who are off with mental ill health

Where a colleague poses a risk to themselves, other

especially if it’s due to stress or anxiety, because they

colleagues, customers or a safety risk, you may need to

don’t want to make the situation worse and the colleague

inform them that there will be other people who you will

to feel more stressed. But not keeping in contact can

need to discuss the situation with, such as the People

often make the condition worse and the colleague feel

Manager/Partner or Safety Team. You should be clear

more isolated or undervalued.

that

these

individuals

will

also

keep

the

matter When the colleague (or their friend/family if they’re in

confidential.

hospital or unable to make direct contact) first rings in

10.

What should I do if a colleague has a mental health crisis at work?

sick, talk to them about what the contact arrangements should be or if you don’t speak to them directly – ring them back, just to see how they are and whether there is

Understanding

the

colleagues’

condition

and

what

any support you can offer.

Give them the Employee

triggers episodes of mental ill health or a mental health

Assistance Programme number, and if there is any link

crisis is important (if they know the causes themselves)

between their condition and work offer them a referral to

and makes it a lot easier for you to support any coping

Occupational Health. Ask the colleague who they would

mechanisms they may have. During your conversations

like their main point of contact to be going forward; they

with them it’s a good idea to capture details of their

may prefer someone from the People Team.

coping mechanism or details of any external support

regular contact, even if it’s by text or e-mail to begin with.

(such as a support worker or family member) they have

If they are signed off for a long period, contact once a

so you can contact them directly if the colleague goes into

week would be appropriate or you could arrange a date

crisis mode. You can do this by using the relevant bits of

and time for the next contact at the end of each call –

the Adjustment Passport or another document which you

take the lead from them, but be firm about there being

hold on their file.

some form of contact. Research shows the longer you

Arrange

are off the harder it is to come back so it’s important we A coping mechanism could be:

keep the lines of communication open to support a return to work.



taking time out



going to a quiet place to cry, scream or shout Internal, Supporting Mental Health, Version1, Page 7 of 10

Use the additional resources we have available such as



More frequent one to ones to discuss how they are

Fit For Work, Occupational Health and GP Fit Notes to

coping. Talking about the situation from both sides

provide advice and guidance on their condition and any

will give you the opportunity to discuss what has

return to work plan including reasonable adjustments.

gone well and not so well and will enable you to plan clear tasks for the following week.

For the process on making reasonable adjustments



Mentor or buddy systems as an additional support.

please see the Supporting Disability guide.



Encouraging resilience training which can help with the ability to cope and general wellbeing.

12.

What kind reasonable adjustments should I consider making with regard to mental ill health?



build self-esteem. 

On the job support – such as a support worker.



A workstation near natural light for those with

An adjustment can be absolutely anything which supports a colleague to be in work. It’s important that you ask the

seasonal disorders. 

colleague what they feel they need, and take additional advice from Occupational Health where necessary.

Regular opportunities to focus on achievements to

Permission to take time out if they’re becoming distressed, (normally just a few minutes is needed).

It

may be that you need to try several adjustments until you

Co-operation of other colleagues

find what’s right for the colleague or a combination of adjustments.

These should be documented on the

Adjustment Passport and reviewed on a regular basis.

In some cases an adjustment won’t work without the help of other colleagues, and as part of the adjustment we’ll be responsible for getting their co-operation. Therefore, we

Some of the reasonable adjustments you could consider:

may have to explain the nature of adjustments to other colleagues to ensure that they understand what the



Using e-mail, text or voicemail if phone calls make

adjustment is and how they can help. Remember to be

the colleague more anxious.

careful not to share confidential information without the



Using e-mail when face to face contact is stressful.

colleagues consent.



Having a quiet work space or working from home to

13.

help with concentration. 

Change break times or more frequent breaks. This

How should I plan for their return to work?

could be for additional time out or to take  

medication.

Returning to work after an episode of mental ill health can

Moving some of their duties to someone else either

be difficult even with adjustments in place; therefore we

on a temporary or permanent basis.

should do everything we can to make this less daunting

Avoiding direct customer contact, if this makes them

for the colleague. Some things you could consider are:

anxious (e.g. not working on customer services or 

the checkout). 



Having flexible working arrangements.



another store/site or coffee shop.

This could

Gradually you

be to support periods of extreme tiredness or when

should encourage the colleague to come into their

medication causes drowsiness.

home store/site, even if it’s just to the coffee shop to

Time off for medical appointments, counselling

begin with. 

sessions etc. 

Arranging any meetings at a neutral venue, such as

Arrange for them to come in for lunch or a team event just so they start to connect with other colleagues

Redeployment to another role, where it is clear that the role and/or team are a cause of the issue.



Creating a return to work plan.

Removing some or all managerial responsibility on a



Discuss

anything

could

potentially be

changed

affects –

their

temporary basis.

condition



Additional training or coaching.

somethings may be beyond your control, so be



Giving more praise or positive feedback.

honest 

that

that

Agree how their progress will be monitored.

Internal, Supporting Mental Health, Version1, Page 8 of 10

however



Update them on what’s been happening at work.



If they need further or additional training on anything,



Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy

Reassure them that if they need anything that you’re

Supporting Disability

Agree whether they want other colleagues to be aware of why they were off and if there is anything they need to know going forward.

the

colleague

before

they

return

to

work,

documented on the return to work/support plan form and reviewed regularly.

14.

16.

Useful contacts

Mind – the mental health charity for England and Wales. Info line 0300 123 3393 (Monday – Friday 9am -6pm),

The return to work plan must be discussed and agreed with

Related reading

arrange this. there to help and support them. 

15.

web site. mind.org.uk. First Steps to Freedom – the Anxiety Action line. Helpline 0845 120 2916, offers advice and information to help with anxiety.

What do I need to be aware of, if a colleague is prescribed with medication?

Mental Health Foundation - web: mentalhealth.org.uk

Mental Health conditions can sometimes take a long time

No Panic – helpline 0800 138 8889, web: nopanic.org.uk,

to diagnose and/or treat and you should be aware that

help and local self help groups for people experiencing

colleagues may be prescribed with a variety of treatment

anxiety.

(this can include counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, medication etc.) until they find the right one that

Stress management society tel 0203 142 8650 web.

helps to control their condition.

Stress.org.uk – helps people to tackle stress

Where medication is prescribed, it can take a while to get the right type and dosage and often the colleague will experience some side effects. It’s important to separate out any side effects the medication may have from the effects of the condition.

Depending on how long the

medication will be taken for, it may take a period of time until the colleague knows whether this will have any impact on their ability to do their job.

Guide information. Version No.

Date of change

Summary of change

1

4 Feb 2016

New document

Guide owner: [email protected] Ownership and confidentiality This document shouldn’t be shared with anyone externally without permission from your Director. This policy and any associated documentation remains the property of Tesco and should be returned if requested.

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