Mental Health Support in the Workplace



The COVID-19 pandemic has had widespread consequences for many of us, with the increased strain on our mental health being arguably the most significant and concerning. Initial estimates indicate that half a million people are likely to experience mental health issues as a direct result of the economic impact of the pandemic. [1]


Considering this, the Dyslexia Box team want to highlight the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service - which offers free mental health support to help people start or stay in work.

Who is eligible for the Mental Health Support Service (MHSS)?

Mental Health Graphic

  • If you have a mental health condition (diagnosed or undiagnosed) that impacts your ability to do your job and...
  • Are self-employed, employed (including apprenticeship, work experience or an internship) or about to start or return to work and…
  • Aged 16 or over and…


  • Live in England, Scotland, or Wales


Then you are eligible!


What type of support does the MHSS offer?    

  • Nine-month personalised mental health support programme with a non-clinical support worker (otherwise known as a ‘Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant’)
  • The initial meeting with your support worker involves a conversation to assess the level of support you require and how your mental health is impacting your ability to carry out your job
  • A tailored support plan will be developed to help you stay in or return to work


Will my employer have to pay for any support or equipment I am recommended?


The support is free to employees and employers.


Case Study:

1. The Situation

Ahmed is a paediatric nurse working full-time in a local hospital. Over the last year, he has experienced increasing anxiety and low mood, impacting his ability to carry out his job role. Specifically, he finds it increasingly difficult to focus on individual tasks and struggles to manage and prioritise his workload. He is frequently overwhelmed and unable to get to work on time. Ahmed visits his GP, putting him on the waiting list for counselling and suggesting that Ahmed contacts the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service (MHSS).

2. The Service

The MHSS puts Ahmed in contact with a vocational rehabilitation consultant called Noah. At the first meeting, Noah introduces himself and the service, then explains the service parameters: a nine-month support programme specifically tailored to address the impact of Ahmed's mental health in the workplace. Noah clarifies that he is not a medical doctor, psychologist or counsellor, and cannot offer clinical advice. Noah takes a detailed history from Ahmed of his mental health condition and workplace triggers. Noah builds trust with Ahmed through open questions and active listening techniques to help him disclose his concerns.

3. The Strategy

Ahmed and Noah devise a support plan to include practical advice and coping strategies for Ahmed to use in the workplace. For example:

  • Colour-coded task tracker to help Ahmed keep on top of his administrative tasks
  • Series of relaxation and breathing techniques to improve Ahmed’s ability to concentrate and focus on specific tasks

Noah also recommended some workplace adjustments and wellbeing support for Ahmed's support plan. For example:

  • Weekly Friday meeting with his line manager to check on his wellbeing and help him plan for the week ahead

4. The Solution

Nine months later, Ahmed reports feeling better equipped to cope with his workload and less overwhelmed daily. He has strategies to plan and prioritise his work tasks, producing a more optimistic attitude towards his work and helping him manage his mental health.

How do I apply?

Able Futures is a nationwide specialist partnership set up to provide the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.


Call Able Futures free on 0800 321 3137 from 8am to 10.30pm on Monday to Friday to find out more or visit their website to apply online.


Remploy is a leading provider of specialist employment and skills support for disabled people and those with health conditions who deliver the confidential service funded by the Department for Work and Pensions.


Call Remploy free on 0300 456 8114 from 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday to find out more or visit their website to fill out an enquiry form.


Article by Dr. Deborah Leveroy, Neurodiversity & Inclusion Lead at Dyslexia Box.

[1] Bank J, Karjalainen H & Propper C (2020) IFS Briefing Note BN281 Recessions and health: The long-term health consequences of responses to coronavirus. London. Institute of Fiscal Studies.

If you would like to find out more about Access to Work then contact our team.

Take a look at some of our related articles:

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Take a look at some of the videos from our YouTube channel which are great resources for learning more about supporting dyslexia in the workplace. Do your part for Dyslexia Awareness Week!


Dr. Deborah Leveroy - Supporting Dyslexia in the Workplace

Dyslexia Box's very own Deborah Leveroy led a webinar at the Diverse Live: Neurodiversity Digital Focus Day, discussing 'Supporting Dyslexia in the Workplace'. Watch here entire webinar here!

Announcement of Research Project Collaboration

We are delighted to announce that we will be collaborating with the Research Centre for Global Learning at Coventry University on the research project entitled ‘Disability, neurodiversity, and remote e-working: promoting the creation of an inclusive workplace - ‘Remote for All’ (R4All)’. 

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