PHIAC took account of a number of factors and issues when developing the recommendations.
3.1 PHIAC recognised the importance of work in promoting mental wellbeing and the guidance focuses on this positive role. It does not focus on the management and treatment of employees who are already experiencing marked distress or early signs and symptoms of mental health problems.
3.2 PHIAC acknowledged the diversity of work and working environments; and recognised that approaches must be tailored to particular contexts and circumstances. In particular, there was a lack of evidence of the distinct needs of micro, small and medium-sized businesses and organisations. Therefore, the recommendations should be implemented flexibly.
3.3 The growing diversity of the workforce, including the significant increase in women in part-time jobs, migrant workers and older employees, has increased the potential for stress associated with discrimination and perceived injustice (Foresight Mental Capital and Wellbeing Project 2008). Many factors can affect mental health at work. Stress is an important way in which work affects mental health. Depression and anxiety are common and may be related to work (as well as to other factors such as difficult life events, for example bereavement or relationship breakdown).
3.4 The current difficult financial climate has the potential to increase mental health problems in employees because of worries about job insecurity and unemployment. Measures to safeguard employee mental wellbeing could help businesses and organisations retain staff with the skills and experience necessary for sustaining business performance in the long tem.
3.5 Evidence on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of organisation-wide approaches for promoting the mental wellbeing of employees is limited in nature and quality. Further, such organisation-wide approaches do not lend themselves to traditional experimental evaluations or systematic review. Consequently, a more flexible review process was adopted that drew on a wider range of types of evidence to inform the development of guidance.