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“Never tell your boss if you have a mental health problem”

So said comedian Ruby Wax in The Times newspaper recently.

Mandy Rutter, co-trainer on CMP’s Mediation and Mental Health training, has written an article for the CIPD on Mental health awareness, employee behaviours around mental ill-health, and culture change based around the stigma of mental ill-health at work (CIPD Web Blog).

Things need to change at work

Mandy says that what is needed is more openness and more understanding in the workplace, not more deception. We need to build a strong culture of trust for staff and managers to feel they can start genuine conversations about well-being.

Culture change means starting at the top, with the execs and directors. HR can engage them to deliver clear statements about how mental health should be approached in their organisation. Focus groups, supported by senior managers, can open up two-way conversations, highlight current attitudes and explore how much desire and knowledge there is for change.

Training can raise the confidence of managers so that talking about it isn’t just an awkward situation that’s best avoided.

Culture change will not be achieved by sending a few employees on a mental health first aid course. Those employees who do have some training and awareness can usefully act as facilitators or champions within the organisation so there is local support for day-to-day situations.

CMP can support you with culture change

Establishing the right organisational values and culture

Culture of Talking


If an employee discloses a mental health issue and finds themselves or their role downgraded in any way, then the psychological contract with the employer is broken. Then all those unspoken agreements about effort and positive attitudes to work will need to be renegotiated, potentially limiting relationships and embittering the spirit of everyday working. The real issue for employers is about the balance between being supportive on mental health problems while also considering performance.

Mediation can rebuild these relationships

Our Mediation and Mental Health training enable mediators to recognise whether participants have the capacity to manage complex interactions that require sensitivity and negotiation.  As these conditions are not always identified at an early stage in the mediation process, the process often continues with all involved becoming increasingly frustrated.

Mediators will have the skills to manage each party with dignity, enabling all involved to feel valued and included. They will also learn skills to manage any blocks, challenges or problems with the process which they become aware of.

Learn more or book a place HERE