People with depression and anxiety should be offered specialist support to return to work as well as psychological therapy, says a review by Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health and the British Occupational Health Research Foundation.
The review, Common Mental Health Problems at Work, argued that people do not have to be completely well to return to work. For many, going back to work can actually help their recovery.
Expert, third-party employment advice can be as important as psychological therapy in helping people remain in work and get back to work quickly after sickness absence, and both are needed to achieve success, it recommended. The response of supervisors and line managers when a person became unwell could also have an impact on their chances of staying at work.
Linda Seymour, Sainsbury Centre head of policy and report author, said: “Our review has shown that people with common mental health problems can return successfully to work before they are completely recovered. But many need support from expert employment advisers as well as timely access to psychological therapy and a good GP.”
The Sainsbury Centre is also to roll out a training scheme to help managers manage mental ill-health at work better.
The scheme is based on the Australian Beyondblue National Workplace Programme and follows a trial in the UK.
The training lasts up to half a day and is delivered by accredited mental health professionals and can be for all staff or targeted at line managers, executive boards, HR and occupational health professionals, said the centre.