Posted: 26/08/2021

Mental health case study: ‘It’s your duty of care as an employer’

Charlie Wells
The Farm Stratford

Having suffered myself in the past, we’re really hot on mental health at The Farm. Recognising that what they’re going through is something that you’ve been through yourself really helps. 

On our medical form for new starters has a section on mental health and if anyone ticks ‘yes’ at any point, we send them an email to let them know that they can reach out if they are suffering. It also gives you a heads up that they are at risk.

We’re also quite a caring workforce – my door is always open – and I think that it’s in my nature to be perceptive about these things. My staff are like my family, I’m with them seven days a week, so I’d be worried if I wasn’t picking up on the signs.

There was a situation where I had to seek external advice on something as I was totally out of my depth. Something had happened outside of work to one of my staff, and all of that emotion was brought in to work – it was easy to spot that they were really not right. 

After speaking with an HR consultant, I put together a package of available services. But I also reached out to a friend of theirs. It wasn’t the person’s primary contact or anything. It was just someone who knew them who I could confide in because I was so worried about them outside of work. 

I was very concerned that I was overstepping a line there, but I knew that it was 100% the right thing to do in the circumstance.

I don’t think you can say ‘that’s business, you can’t do that’ when it’s concerning someone’s life.

I didn’t think twice, or that I was intruding. I just needed to make sure they were okay. 

It’s your duty of care as an employer to do that. It can be tough to have that responsibility but you can’t ignore something so serious.

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