Occupational Psychiatry For Employers

Poor mental health is one of the biggest issues in the workplace today and the range of mental health conditions can make its management difficult and challenging. It is estimated that over 70 million working days are lost each year from mental health problems. This costs the UK economy approximately £70 - 100 billion annually. Presenteeism can significantly increase this cost.

Mental health issues include everything from the most commonly experienced symptoms of stress and anxiety, right through to more complex mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, personality disorders and schizophrenia.

As well as having a huge impact on individual employees, poor mental health has severe repercussions for employers, including increased staff turnover, sickness absence, decreased motivation and lost productivity. Even low levels of depression can directly impact on productivity. Sufferers are more likely to get into conflict with colleagues, find it harder to juggle multiple tasks, find it difficult to concentrate, take longer to complete tasks and are potentially less patient with customers/clients. Lifestyle factors such as alcohol and substance abuse can also present unique challenges.

While companies of all shapes and sizes increasingly understand the importance of good mental health, mental health symptoms are complex and can be difficult to manage without specialist guidance.

Why refer to Dr Pearse

Dr Pearse is one of very few occupational psychiatrists in the UK, presenting a rare opportunity for you to refer your employee to access a definitive diagnosis of your employees' mental health condition. As some forms of mental illness may be classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010, advice will be be given that fully takes into account the employers needs and adjustment possibilities to assist your duty to comply with employment law. The Act makes it unlawful for an employer to treat a disabled person less favourably for a reason relating to their disability, without a justifiable reason. The implications of breaching disability employment law can be financially severe.

Moreover, Dr Pearse can also make treatment recommendations to the employees' primary care provider to assist their recovery and return to full health. This specialist treatment advice can be difficult for the employee to obtain elsewhere as referral thresholds for psychiatric assessment within the NHS framework are high and private psychiatric healthcare can be costly. One referral for your employee for an occupational psychiatric assessment by Dr Pearse can therefore provide advice for you as employers but also offers specialist treatment advice, potentially resolving the problem much more swiftly.

A referral to Dr Pearse can therefore help reduce and shorten sickness absence, increase staff retention, improve productivity, provide advice for dealing with complex challenges, and help keep your organisation and your employees safe and well.

Dr Pearse also offers training for Directors, Human Resources and Line Managers on Mental Health In the workplace.

What to expect

Having referred your employee for assessment, the questions raised in the management referral will be addressed in Dr Pearse's report . This is usually sent to you within a few days of assessment with the employees' consent. Please make contact for a quotation and to obtain the referral form, which includes sample questions that most employers request answers to.

Spotting potential signs of deteriorating mental health:

Emotional

Employees who are struggling with their mental health may seem irritable, sensitive to criticism, demonstrate an uncharacteristic loss of confidence or seem to lose their sense of humour.

Cognitive

An employee may make more mistakes than usual, have problems making decisions, or not be able to concentrate. Look out for any sudden and unexplained drop in performance at work.

Behavioural

This could include arriving late, not taking lunch breaks, taking unofficial time off, not joining in office banter, not hitting deadlines, becoming more introverted or extroverted, generally acting out of character.

Physical

Employees who are stressed sometimes exhibit physical symptoms such as constant colds, being tired at work, looking like they haven't made an effort with their appearance, or rapid weight loss or gain.

Business

At a business level, look out for increased absence or staff turnover. Have you noticed employees working longer hours or a general drop in motivation or productivity levels?

What can a manager do to promote positive mental health at work?

Employees often feel scared, embarrassed or unable to talk about mental health concerns with their employer. To break this taboo and create an open and caring culture where employees feel they can talk about mental health issues, keeping communication channels open is critical.

Example Case Study

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