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Why OMhAS?

There is no doubt that organisations which actively address mental health issues in the workplace can experience greater staff productivity; loyalty and morale; staff retention; and reduced sickness absence, all indicators of an organisation’s measure of success.

These days, being able to demonstrate to prospective employees that employee wellbeing, including occupational mental health, is a genuine priority also helps to attract good quality candidates into the organisation.

Mental health conditions are now more prevalent than ever. The CIPD 2021 Health and wellbeing at work survey report concluded that stress continues to be one of the main causes of short and long-term absence and overall, nearly four-fifths (79%) of employers reported some stress-related absence in their organisation over the last year, with this figure rising to 91% of organisations with more than 250 employees. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a significant factor in the increased levels of workplace stress that we have seen.

For many years, we have worked with business owners, senior leaders and HR professionals who have told us that they would like to offer a good workplace mental health environment but don’t know where to start. Others have told us that they have a mental health policy and have run a few mental health awareness initiatives, but they aren’t sure how effective this has been. Lots of organisations say they know they have to have some form of mental health policy in place, but they don’t know what the organisation’s key aims and objectives should be on mental health. Other organisations are unsure of how to assess the effectiveness of the mental health services they have in place.

Our aim is to completely simplify the process by providing a package of support to make it easy for organisations to launch and improve their workplace mental health offering. Our second objective is to help employers of all sizes to have a workplace mental health programme which achieves positive outcomes, specifically enabling people to thrive at work so that the organisation is healthy and productive in every sense.

The OMhAS services enable an organisation to properly equip its leaders to safeguard and manage the mental health of its workforce and to attract and retain talent. Our tools and services will allow a business to quickly roll out a clear, comprehensive and effective workplace mental health programme, as well as enabling the audit and improvement of existing mental health services. We also enable the organisation to ensure that managers are trained to deliver the organisation’s aims. The organisation can then periodically assess the effectiveness of its workplace mental health strategy and continue to adapt this as necessary to ensure it remains fit for purpose.

However, unlike many online providers out there, we are not just selling a basic toolkit, our OMhAS advisers are able to provide solid and practical guidance, management training and where needed, legal, HR and workplace inclusion advice and support, all with the benefit of their unique skillset. Please refer to ‘Our Experts’ for further information about our extensive experience and qualifications.

Our Experts

Our services have been developed by our OMhAS Directors, Jennifer Nicol and Joanna Atkinson. Both are senior people managers with lived experience of managing teams and supporting colleagues with mental health challenges. Jennifer and Joanna are both also Mental Health First Aiders and have worked for many years with psychiatrists, psychologists and workplace wellbeing professionals to educate businesses on how to avoid risks and to effectively manage workplace mental health problems. They have collaborated with wellbeing professions over hundreds of hours to design these services which are aimed at preventing conflict, absence and exits.

Joanna is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and has experience of working in HR and leading a team of HR professionals.

Jennifer is trained in diversity and inclusion and was, for many years, part of the senior leadership team in a private practice law firm. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management and has completed training in conducting difficult management discussions.

Both Jennifer and Joanna have experience of working in the charity and not-for-profit sector and have Trustee experience.

As experienced practising employment lawyers they are both members of the Employment Lawyers Association and each have over 20 years’ experience in working with employers and individuals to resolve workplace disputes on almost every imaginable conflict involving mental ill health and the workplace.

The OMhAS Packages

OMhAS is a complete package of guides, tools and training to allow an employer to create or update an effective workplace mental health programme. Employers can work with our experts in devising a solid and effective workplace mental health strategy. Our products are underpinned by the UK Government’s recommendations on workplace mental health and provide employers the means to develop a workplace mental health offering which:

• states clearly the organisation’s key aims on mental health and how it intends to achieve those aims;

• provides an effective method for an organisation to promote good health, support people and reduce long term absence;

• trains managers, HR and leaders to have confidence in promoting good mental health, preventing problems and tackling difficult situations if they do arise;

• is aligned with the organisation’s values; and

• achieves positive outcomes.

Please contact us for information about our fees for each of the packages available.

Package A

‘The OMhAS Toolbox’

This comprises of:

• An employer’s checklist to either assist in preparing the organisation’s workplace mental health strategy, mental health policy (MHpol) and mental health plan (MHplan), or to enable an audit of any existing policies or plans

• A workplace mental health strategy paper in draft

• A workplace mental health policy in draft (MHpol)

• A workplace mental health plan in draft (MHplan)

• A guide for employees on self-care

• A guide for employees on supporting colleagues

• Five guides to promoting and safeguarding good workplace mental health:

  1.   1 Information and Support for Mental Health – What to provide in the workplace
  2.   2 Equipping Managers to Manage Workplace Mental Health Positively –
        A guide for HR/Senior Leadership
  3.   3 Equipping HR and managers to Deal with Complex Situations
  4.   4 Assessing Workplace Wellbeing – Getting it right and doing it well
  5.   5 Planning Communications and Promoting Engagement

Package B

Time with our Experts

A block of time (up to three hours) with one of our OMhAS Directors to:

• assist in the preparation of the organisation’s mental health strategy paper and finalising the PHpol and MHplan to make them fit for the organisation;

• help the organisation to set clear and achievable aims around workplace mental health;

• help plan communications; and

• help plan training to ensure that managers are properly equipped to achieve the organisation’s aims.


Package C

Essential Training for Managers

A complete guide to understanding and managing mental health in the workplace, to include:

• recognising signs of poor mental health, the role of managers in promoting good mental health and demonstrating commitment to the organisation’s aim on mental health, the role of managers in supporting colleagues with mental health problems; and

• communications and handling difficult conversations, legal obligations and managing risks.

Its aim is to give managers the confidence they need to achieve the organisation’s aims, to spot and avoid problems and to handle sensitive situations.

Package D

Training for HR and Senior Managers

This training is designed to enable HR and Senior Management to handle complex mental health issues as they arise in the workplace.

Package E

Bespoke Case Studies Session

This package provides the organisation with a two hour case study session which is designed around scenarios provided by the organisation.

Complimentary Services

There will be times when we will recommend that you seek the support of a complimentary service alongside the advice that we can offer. This may be involve counselling, mentoring, mediation or seeking a specialist medical assessment. We work with a wide range of professionals and will be able to introduce you to the most appropriate person/organisation and help with any formal employee referral that may be required.

Occupational mental health legal advice

Many mental health conditions which have a substantial and long-term effect (for at least 12 months) on the individual’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day tasks may qualify as a disability under the disability discrimination provisions in the Equality Act 2010, therefore providing the employee with protection. If an employee has a disability, as the employer you have a responsibility to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate their needs.

The cost of getting it wrong can lead to substantial and uncapped compensation as well as reputational damage. However, it’s not just about staying on the right side of the law, providing support to employees with mental health conditions can visibly lead to increased productivity; an improvement in staff retention; and reduced sickness absence. In the long run obtaining prompt advice will pay off.

Contact Us

Please get in touch if we can help you with any occupational mental health matters.

Joanna Atkinson
Practice Director

T: 01252 821792
E: joanna@jma-hrlegal.co.uk

HR, Employment Law and Immigration Solicitors

+44 (0)1252 821792

help@jma-hrlegal.co.uk