Almost one in three of line managers are unaware of NICE mental health guidelines introduced one year ago

One year on from the publication of the NICE guidelines,1 which emphasise the importance of upskilling line managers in talking about mental health so they feel supported and skilled to perform their line management duties, new research reveals more still needs to be done.

Working To Wellbeing’s Window to the Workplace research has found almost a third (29%) of line managers are not aware of the NICE guidelines, rising to 38% of those aged 55+. In addition, one in five (19%) are “very aware”, which rises among younger workers aged under-35 (23%) and falls among older workers aged 55+ (10%).

Announced in March 2022, NICE emphasised the importance of upskilling line managers in talking about mental health so they feel supported and skilled to perform their line management duties. This includes how to have a conversation about mental wellbeing with an employee at times of crisis, how to identify early warning signs of poor mental wellbeing and knowing where to go for further help or support in complex situations.

The research by Working To Wellbeing, the return-to-work rehabilitation specialist that celebrates 10 years in business in 2023, has found that 67% of line managers know how to spot early warning signs of poor mental wellbeing (of which 24% “strongly agree” they could spot the signs), but this falls among older managers aged 55+ to 60% and 14% respectively.

Furthermore, seven in ten (71%) line managers feel confident having a conversation with a colleague about mental wellbeing at a time of crisis, of which 28% “strongly agree” with the sentiment. In comparison, just 57% of employees feel confident having a conversation with their line manager about their wellbeing at a time of crisis, while 18% do not.

Working To Wellbeing asked line managers if they agreed with the statement “I know where to go for further help or support on overall wellbeing in complex situations”:
• One in ten (12%) said they do not know where to go for further help
• Two in three (68%) do know where to go for help.
• One in four (20%) neither agreed nor disagreed.

Furthermore, while two-thirds (66%) of line managers do think they have a good support system in their workplace to help refer any mental or physical wellbeing concerns they are unsure about, 13% disagree.

Dr Julie Denning, managing director, chartered health psychologist at Working To Wellbeing and Chair of the Vocational Rehabilitation Association said: “Almost a third of line managers are completely unaware of the NICE guidelines that were announced one year ago this month. The guidelines include offering mental health training for managers including how to identify early warning signs of poor mental wellbeing and knowing where to get help in complex situations.

“However, on the one hand it is encouraging to see that many line managers do feel confident in the workplace when it comes to supporting colleagues with their mental health, particularly in more complex cases. But there is still more to be done as there are many that do not have the confidence, support or skillset that is necessary. This is crucial as line managers, being at the coalface, can often spot difficulties within the workforce early on and this early intervention can head off problems before they potentially escalate.

“Our Line Manager Assistance Programme (LMAP) supports and equips line managers to help with their teams’ mental and physical wellbeing at work and aims to minimise the considerable burden that sits now upon a line manager’s shoulders and give them the personalised and specialist support they need.”

Working To Wellbeing’s research found that one in four (24%) line managers do not believe they have received sufficient training from their employer to best support their employees on their overall wellbeing, with just 55% agreeing they have had enough training. Furthermore, 16% of managers do not think they have been equipped with sufficient resources to support their colleagues with their overall wellbeing, rising to 21% of those aged 55+.

Denning continued: “Line managers, who are often at the coalface and whose role is critical to supporting their colleagues at work, need to be given the tools and support to enable them to have the confidence and skills to best support their workforce. Our Line Manager Assistance Programme (LMAP), which was launched in response to the 2022 NICE guidelines, supports and equips line managers to help with their teams’ mental and physical wellbeing at work and aims to minimise the considerable burden that sits now upon a line manager’s shoulders and give them the personalised and specialist support they need.”

Working To Wellbeing’s team of expert clinicians will help provide guidance & training for line managers to have conversations about their teams’ wellbeing at work. The Line Manager Assistance Programme will include access to its dedicated Line Manager Helpline offering reliable and expert advice to provide reassurance when managing colleagues, as well as training and help for line managers to create return-to-work plans and wellbeing plans for people returning to work. Furthermore, tailored wellbeing sessions can also be provided to ensure managers are looking after their own physical and mental health needs.

For more information, or to sign up to the LMAP, visit www.working2wellbeing.com
or contact 0330 0552903.

About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4406 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing. Lisa is a qualified Vibrational Therapist and has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.