Mental Health Awareness - Learners

Introduction to Mental Health

Please take time to watch the video below and read the information provided to help raise your awareness of mental health issues, you may be surprised by what you read!

At the bottom of the page you will find some essential reading material that will help you when answering the  Mental Health Awareness quiz. Its important that once you have completed this quiz you update your own CPD records. 

Introduction to mental health – Key Facts

Managers and employers play a key role in improving the mental health and wellbeing of people in the workplace.

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of mental health problems so you know how to support people at work, promote mental health awareness and encourage a healthy working environment.  



Intent of this awareness module

  • Understand what is meant by 'mental health'.
  • Be aware of the legal responsibilities that employers have in regards to mental health.
  • Understand some of the most common mental health problems.
  • Understand ways in which people can manage their individual mental health to make everyday living easier.
  • Be aware of how to support a colleague with a mental health problem in the workplace.
  • Understand how to promote a healthy, non-discriminatory working environment.
  • Have knowledge of the workplace adjustments that can be made to help an employee with a mental health problem.

Introduction - What is Mental health?

'Mental health' is defined as 'a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional wellbeing'. Everybody has mental health in the same way that everyone has physical health.

Good mental health is characterised by a person's ability to cope with everyday life.

Learning and Mental Health

People with good mental health are better able to learn new things, feel emotions, express emotions, form relationships and cope with change and uncertainty. 






What is Mental Health?

  • Mental health problems affect the way a person thinks, feels and behaves and can have a severe impact on a person's ability to carry out their daily life
  • No two people experience the same symptoms or effects when they are unwell, which often leads to people making assumptions or unfair judgements about the person.
  • The majority of people can learn to live with mental health or recover if they receive the appropriate support.

Mental Health - Statistics

Around a quarter of the population experience some kind of mental health problem in any one year.





9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination. 






Anxiety and depression are the most common problems, with around 1 in 10 people affected at any one time.




Common causes of Mental Health issues

Mental health problems are often a result of several contributing factors and are not due to one single cause.

To help you understand where a person's illness may have originated, consider this image of the biopsychosocial model of mental health, which shows many of the factors that commonly contribute towards a mental health problem.

Common symptoms of Mental Health issues  

The following list of behaviours shows some common symptoms that may be displayed by someone experiencing a mental health problem. However, be careful not to make assumptions, people with a mental health problem may exhibit none, some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling sad or being overly tearful
  • Low self-esteem
  • Negative or racing thoughts
  • Weight loss, gain or changes in appetite
  • Hallucinating or hearing voices
  • Self-harm. Suicidal feelings
  • Tiredness. Headaches
  • Loss of motivation
  • Social withdrawal 

The image below represents what mental health issues often look like!!

Stigma around Mental Health issues

Having a mental illness is surrounded by stigma.

Stigma is a negative term and is closely linked with prejudice and discrimination against certain people.

Furthermore, the fear of stigma can often make the situation worse and cause the person more stress if they are trying to hide their feelings or avoid talking about their condition in fear of what other people will think.

Many people say that being discriminated against in work and social situations can be a bigger burden than the illness itself.






Stigma in the workplace & Mental Health issues

In the workplace, many employers do not fully understand mental health problems, do not know how to react to them or what adjustments to the workplace are needed.

Mental health illnesses are considered 'invisible' and cannot be seen in the same way that a physical illness can, there is often a misunderstanding of how serious the conditions can be.

People wrongly assume that because they cannot see anything is the matter on the outside, the problem isn't there.







What can you do to help?

If a colleague is unwell with a mental health problem you may be unsure of what you can do to help, worry that you'll say the wrong thing or be concerned about how their illness will affect the day-to-day running of your business. These are all normal reactions to have.

However, the main thing you can do to help is simply offer your support, even the smallest of actions can make a huge difference.


  • Keep the person involved at work
  • Don’t exclude them
  • Ask them how they are and offer support
  • Be respectful, open-minded
  • Don't pressure them into admitting what's wrong

What to do if you have concerns for someone?






USEFUL LINKS for suffers and supporters of those with mental health issues:

Mental Health, the Law and Work  

Under the Equality Act 2010, people with a mental disability are taken just as seriously as those with a physical disability, and protection is given to them against discrimination. However, to get protection under the Equality Act, the mental health problem must be diagnosed as a disability.

To be classified as a disability the person must have had the mental health condition for at least 12 months and will need to be able to show that they are experiencing substantial disadvantages at work because of their illness.

Once the person has been confirmed to have a disability due to their mental health problem, it then becomes illegal for employers to discriminate against them because of their health. For example, you could not refuse the person a job promotion based on the state of their mental wellbeing.

Employers are also required to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace to help the person under the Act.

Mental Health, Discrimination and Work

Many people who have a mental health problem are NOT protected by the Equality Act because their condition has not been deemed a disability.

These people are often treated differently or worse than others at work because of their illness, yet this is still discrimination and the person may still have a legal right to challenge it.

New provisions in the Equality Act have made it illegal for employers to ask health or health-related questions before making a conditional offer of employment to a candidate. The aim is to prevent employers from making discriminatory decisions based on a person's current or past mental health.

Risk Assessment

All employers have a legal responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to safeguard the health and safety of their employees whilst at work. As part of this responsibility, employers are required to undertake a risk assessment in order to identify, control and manage the hazards to health and safety. This includes assessing the risks to employees' mental health as well as their physical health.




To complete a risk assessment you will need to fulfil each of the following stages: 

  1. Identify the risks - look at the tasks, environmental factors, relationships etc. in the workplace to identify what may cause people problems.
  2. Decide who may be harmed and how - consult employees or do a questionnaire to see how people feel. Some people may be affected more than others.
  3. Evaluate the risks and decide on suitable controls - how can the identified risks be controlled and are there adjustments that can be made to the workplace or tasks etc. to make things better?
  4. Record the findings - keep a written record of your assessment to refer back to and to show your compliance with health and safety law.
  5. Monitor and review the situation - check regularly to ensure that the controls are still suitable and make further adjustments should a worker need them.

Why is the Law important?

There are many reasons why complying with the law is important. It may seem like a hassle to undertake a risk assessment or follow rules but compliance can bring your business many benefits. Here are a few examples:

  • It reduces the likelihood for legal claims.
  • It safeguards employees who have a mental health problem.
  • It shows that your business takes mental health seriously.
  • It improves employee morale.
  • It provides support for the individual.
  • It increases productivity and profits.
  • It reduces sickness absence and staff turnover.
  • It reduces recruitment and training costs.
  • It makes the workplace a healthier, happier place.

Essential reading material (this will provide additional information you need when answering the quiz, click the image below)

We hope you found this information useful. Please follow the link below to attempt the Mental Health Awareness quiz and update your Smart Assessor account when completed. 


Rachel Hales | Designated Safeguarding Lead