Managers and leaders are fundamental to creating positive and healthy working environments for our diverse workforces. 

A 2021 review of scientific research on how work-related factors affect mental wellbeing outlines keys areas to consider when supporting employees’ mental health. These include healthy work relationships, work-life balance and understanding and working to improve certain psychological states, such as feeling unfairly treated at work and not being able to comprehend or find meaning in events.

As a manager you might also be interested in mentoring and coaching

Line managers are not expected to know everything or do everything when it comes to health and wellbeing – use this website to signpost staff to support they might need. Where possible, you can also link in with your local organisational health and wellbeing champions, advocates or equivalent, who can assist with support and help you spread key health and wellbeing messages. 

National support 

The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) provides a series of quick and easy to use guidance and exercises specifically for line managers to enable them to better support the health, wellbeing and engagement of their team. 

NHS England outlines the responsibilities of senior leaders, what healthy behaviours look like for leaders and the importance of skilled and supported managers in helping to build and sustain cultures of health and wellbeing.

The CIPD has created a guide for people managers supporting mental health at work.

NHS Employers provides advice on supporting line managers within your organisation.

For NHS staff 

The NHS Leadership Academy is the home of health and care leadership development. They aim to help everyone in the NHS discover their full leadership potential and achieve the highest standards in health and care.  

The Leadership Academy’s Executive Suite provides a range of opportunities for senior leaders to access support and development for themselves and to aid them in supporting the development of their staff, setting cultures that value the importance of health and wellbeing.

#ProjectM is a place for team leaders and managers to connect, share and learn together.

For NHS primary care staff

NHS England provides confidential coaching and support for the primary care workforce to help prioritise your needs as an individual and support you to manage your team and reflect on your career goals and ambitions.

For social care staff 

Skills for Care provides resources and tools to support you to effectively lead and manage your service. They also provide wellbeing leadership

The Department of Health and Social Care provides guidance for anyone who works in adult social care, giving advice on how you can manage your personal mental health. It also advises employers on how to take care of the wellbeing of staff at work.

Local support 

Talking wellness can provide support for managers such as reflective practice groups for teams, psycho-educational programmes, weekly virtual drop-in sessions for team managers, monthly forums for social care team managers and more. Talking wellness is also a great resource to direct staff to.

For NHS staff

The South East Leadership Academy focuses on creating, designing and delivering high impact leadership interventions to support and empower leaders to make a difference in their teams, organisations, systems and communities.

For NHS primary care staff 

Primary care staff should check their local training hub for training opportunities: 

Research has shown a compelling link between compassion in leadership and staff wellbeing, team performance, and better outcomes for patients and service users. 

Civility and respect is simply about how we treat each other at work. In highly pressurised health and care systems, behaviours of incivility and disrespect can become common place – something we need to work together to put a stop to.

National support 

The King’s Fund runs a free online introductory course on leading with kindness and compassion in health and social care. It’s suitable for anyone working in health and social care, regardless of sector, role or seniority, or leaders in local government, independent and voluntary, community or social enterprise sector.

NHS England provides a practical, flexible and interactive toolkit on civility and respect.

All NHS colleagues have access to the Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust’s free online Just and Learning Culture training and additional accredited learning packages to help ensure their organisation has a fair, open and learning culture. The Restorative Just Culture – Virtual Community of Practice is an online community of practice for the Restorative Just Culture community where the user can engage with other colleagues on good practice and current thinking. 

Violence and abuse toward colleagues is one of the many factors that can have a devastating and lasting impact on health and wellbeing. 

National support 

For NHS staff

NHS England’s violence prevention and safety programme aims to embed a culture where NHS colleagues feel supported, safe and secure at work.

Handling difficult situations – Caring for yourself and others with compassion’ is a training course for any frontline, patient-facing NHS colleagues in clinical and non-clinical roles. 

For social care staff 

NICE Quality standard covering the short-term management of violence and aggression in mental health, health and community settings.

NICE Quality standard covering violent and aggressive behaviours in people with mental health problems.

Local support 

For primary care staff 

Kent Local Medical Committee provides guidance on dealing with difficult patients and the removal of patients from GP lists.

Staff appraisals and one-to-one meetings are key opportunities for managers to check on staff wellbeing. For useful steps and suggested talking points, take a look at NHS Employers’ tips on health and wellbeing conversations

More information can be found on wellbeing conversations at work.

Disabled staff

NHS Employers provides advice on supporting staff with disabilities in the workplace, including guidance on making reasonable adjustments.  

The video below shows from the Equality and Human Rights Commission talks about making adjustments for disabled people.


NHS Employers provides advice and tips on supporting staff with caring responsibilities.

You can also visit our section on carers

Sickness absence

NHS Employers has a toolkit designed to help managers support staff with a confident and consistent approach to sickness absence.

Bereavement support

The CIPD has a guide for managers on compassionate bereavement support. 


For advice on managing the menopause, visit our menopause section.

Domestic violence

For advice on domestic violence, visit our staying safe section

NHS England provides details of how to enhance flexible working in your organisation, including a flexible working toolkit for managers.

The Health and Safety Executive has produced guidance for home workers, including tips and help for managers to look out for signs of stress.

For further support, see our advice on working flexibly.