Build Your Approach

Information taken from BITC – Mental Health toolkit

Understand the law

Putting plans in place isn’t just a good thing to do; it helps ensure you are following your legal obligations as an employer. It is important to understand the law and ensure you are compliant. If someone has a mental health problem that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities, they are considered disabled and will be protected from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.


Understand your legal obligations as an employer

  • Read up on the Equality Act 2010 and make a note of any areas you have concerns about, before developing your understanding further and making changes in your approach.

Deciding where to start

It is important to understand the requirements within your business so you can set meaningful objectives. The size of your business, along with such factors as the type of industry you work in and the services you provide will all affect the approach you need to take.


Understand your employees

  • Undertake a survey with your employees to understand their pressures and aspirations. For smaller organisations, this might be a simple conversation.
  • If you already run a with your employees, build in questions on mental health and general wellbeing.

Carry out a Health Needs Assessment

A process to determine the health and wellbeing needs of specific groups so that interventions can be planned. Public Health England’s workplace health needs assessment provides a useful model.

Understand the rewards

  • Improve your understanding about the costs of poor employee health and wellbeing to your organisation and create a business case for taking action, along with an understanding on the return you will get from this investment. Use this government tool to help.

Assess your approach so far

  • If you have already introduced initiatives to promote mental health, assess how far these efforts are going by taking Time to Change’s mini healthcheck. This will help you to review your practices and then plan for the next steps.

Set your goals

  • The three steps above will help you to set clear objectives for your mental health programme that you can measure against over time. You can prioritise actions and ‘park’ less important issues for later.

Build your programme

Once you have identified and prioritised your objectives, they can be put together into a plan for the year ahead for your business. The remaining sections of this toolkit will help you to build your actions, and they do not need to be complicated. As you will see, there is a lot that doesn’t cost money and can be adapted for any business (from free toolkits to piggybacking on national awareness days).

Once you have built the plan, it is important everyone knows about it – the communication of your initiatives is key to their success. If employees are not aware of them or do not participate in them, they have failed.


Make sure mental health and wellbeing are included in your policies covering areas such as:

  • Absence and sickness
  • Health and safety
  • Working time / TOIL / overtime
  • Performance management and personal development
  • Recruitment, change management and redundancy
  • Equality, diversity, inclusion, bullying, harassment, whistle blowing

Create a positive mental health plan

  • Develop a scheduled programme of activity to promote good mental health and introduce measures to assist those with poor mental health, by analysing the results of your need and assessing your strategic priorities.
  • Use elements from the rest of this toolkit to help build this plan and make use of the framework for your approach
  • Ensure your senior team is fully bought into the plan and feel confident they can help implement it.

Communicate this programme to your employees

  • Consider ‘launching’ your programme with an event with employees or by ensuring the approach is communicated in team / company meetings and in line manager catch-ups.