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Introducing your free toolkit for mental health sickness absence

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Q & A

Q: Can you just clarify for me please is the toolkit owned by Kingston Business School as per the logos on the presentation? Looks great by the way!

A: The toolkit has been developed by a team from Kingston University, Loughborough University and Affinity Health at work. We have been commissioned by an external organisation to develop and evaluate this toolkit. We are keen for employers and employees to use the materials as they think appropriate within their organisations. If you would like to edit or use the framework in your organisation, please contact us to explore ways we can work together.

Q: I would be interested in finding out more and could help with the trial and dissemination.

A: Please contact Rebecca Peters on for further information about how to get involved.

Q: Are the arrows on step three onwards pointing the right way?

A: The arrows were more of a click through button to the next step rather than suggesting the direction of journey - however, a few people have given us the same feedback so we will be reviewing this.

Q: Will this be free on an ongoing basis?

A: Yes

Q: Is the link to site being sent direct to participants?

A: The site can be found on

Q: This is maybe a stupid question, but would menopause fall into this mental health definition? Many of the things you are describing are things we see in staff suffering through menopause.

A: No, it would not currently fall under the definition of mental health. However, there may be useful resources within the toolkit for situations other than mental ill-health.

Q: The toolkit looks really useful, especially the conversation template for the RTW conversation. Thank you!

A: Thank you for your feedback!

Q: Would the tool be editable? we have many employee resources for MwB that could be enhanced by the tool kit?

A: Yes, the toolkit is editable and can be constantly updated in line with new research and guidance.

Q: Is there anything in the toolkit / website about mental health issues that qualify as a disability and the particular challenges for an employer dealing with these?

A: We do have some brief details about long term disability in step 6 of the employer guide. There are details on the Disability Discrimination, the 'access to work' scheme and an ACAS document on disability discrimination, however this toolkit is aimed at short term absence and mental health conditions.

Q: Fantastic presentation - many thanks!

A: Thank you for your feedback!

Q: Would you be able to send a direct link via email to the 6 step guide?

A: Yes or you can access it at

Date & time

Friday 23 February 2018, 12.30pm


Mental ill-health is one of the most common reasons for short and long-term sickness absence, affecting one in six employees in the UK (Council for Work and Health, 2014).

Having an employee off sick can also have high cost implications to the employer and the business. An early intervention to encourage continued work participation is vital for the employee leading to financial, social, psychological gains, and the employer, reducing turnover and recruitment costs, retaining knowledge and supporting a culture of well-being.

In this webinar Dr Joanna Yarker and Rebecca Peters talk about ways mental health can be supported in your organisation and the latest research in absence management. They will introduce a new free-to-access online toolkit - designed by a team of researchers at Kingston University, Loughborough University and Affinity Health at Work - to help employees and employers navigate through the return to work process following a mental health sickness absence.


Dr. Joanna Yarker

Dr. Joanna Yarker divides her time between Affinity Health at Work, a niche consultancy specialising in health and wellbeing at work, and Kingston Business School, where she works as an Associate Professor, leading the Masters and Professional Doctorate programmes in Occupational and Business Psychology. She is passionate about understanding what we can do to foster fulfilling, healthy and productive work, particularly under times of challenge such as when individuals are unwell or under pressure. Visit the Affinity work health and wellbeing hub for up-to-date research and free resources to help manage health at work.

Rebecca Peters

Rebecca is a recent MSc graduate in Occupational Psychology from Kingston University and has been working as a research associate for the last year. She has been involved in several projects within this time, including working with Prison Officers to gain a better understanding of their personal resilience and exploring the strategies that officers use in order to cope and deal with adversity in their role. Rebecca is currently working with Joanna Yarker on developing and evaluating an online toolkit to support employers and employees throughout the return to work process following mental health sickness absence.


Katharine Metters, MCSP MSc.Erg CMIOSH PGCE
Head Consultant, Posturite

Katharine is a Member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, holds a Masters Degree in Ergonomics and is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Safety and Health. This unique combination of qualifications, together with her vast range of experience working within healthcare, food, retail and utility sectors, enables Katharine to offer a very broad based range of training, education and health & safety management in the workplace.