HR managers have a lack of understanding about mental health issues,
according to research commissioned by the Department of Health.
Attitudes to Mental Health at Work – Interim Report claims that HR policies
do not take into account mental health issues as effectively as they should.
It also states there is a lack of training in companies’ responsibilities
under the Disability Discrimination Act when it comes to dealing with the
The report finds that HR managers have a lack of understanding and sympathy
towards mental illness and that this attitude is silencing managers and
blocking the development of policies.
Patrick Burns, policy director at The Industrial Society, which carried out
the research, said HR could improve the way it tackles mental health issues.
He said, "HR needs to improve the awareness of mental health within
organisations. HR have the tools to do this as they do it in other areas of
Burns said the approach to training on mental health issues must be
"HR needs to specialise in mental health by encouraging the use of
internal or external counsellors so they can tell employees what to do,"
The report was based on responses from 14 HR managers split into two focus