BITC report highlights impact of work on mental health

A new report highlights role of bullying and harassment on workplace mental health.

Woman leans on a table looking depressed


A third of employees who experience poor mental health at work say it is due to negative work relationships, including bullying managers, according to a new survey.

The survey of over 4000 employees for Business in the Community found that of the 39 per cent of employees surveyed who have experienced poor mental health due to work, a third (33 per cent) said that this was caused by negative work relationships. Almost one in four (24 per cent) of those with work-related mental health problems explicitly cited bullying and harassment from their manager as a major cause. The report says most employers do not acknowledge or deal with the adverse impact work has on employees’ mental health and calls for mental and physical health to be considered as equally important by employers.

The survey also reveals a significant disconnect between company board members’ perceptions of how mental health is treated within their companies and what the rest of the organisation thinks. More than half (51 per cent) of those at a chief executive or board level believed that their organisation effectively supports its staff, compared with 38 per cent of those without line management responsibilities.

It also found that there are barriers to managers providing effective support with more than six in ten (62 per cent) managers saying they have had to put the interest of their organisation above staff wellbeing. Only seven per cent of all employees have received training to recognise workplace stress factors. Moreover, one in three (33 per cent) with mental health problems said that they felt ignored. And about one in ten (9 per cent) were subject to disciplinary action, demotion or dismissal following the disclosure of mental health issues. One in 10 workers resigned as a result, a figure that has plateaued since 2017.

BITC is calling on employers to acknowledge and support employees experiencing poor mental health, whatever the cause, create good working cultures and publicly report your wellbeing performance.

Meanwhile, a report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development calls on employers to focus more on promoting inclusion rather than diversity metrics.

The Building inclusive workplaces report said employers need to focus less on the figures and more on how employees with diverse backgrounds are supported and included in the workplace.

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