Many employees suffering mental health problems in silence



Almost half of employees have experienced poor mental health while working for their current employer and only half of these informed their employer, according to a new survey for Mental Health Awareness Week.

The survey of almost 44,000 employees conducted by the mental health charity Mind show more than eight in 10 people (84 per cent) would continue to go to work when experiencing poor mental health while only just over half (58 per cent) would go to work when experiencing poor physical health.

Only two fifths (42 per cent) of all employees surveyed felt their manager would be able to spot the signs they were struggling with poor mental health and a fifth (21 per cent) of all respondents feel that their current workload is unmanageable.

The survey is based on employers taking part in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index. Two thirds (61 per cent) of employers taking part say they intend to increase spend on workplace wellbeing activities to create a more positive and open culture.

Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, said: “As we mark Mental Health Awareness Week, it is worrying to discover that half of employees still don’t feel able to speak out. Too many people struggling with poor mental health, such as stress, anxiety and depression, still feel they need to stay silent. For some, reasons include; not feeling comfortable disclosing their mental health problem, worrying their employer will think they can’t do their job and not wanting to be treated differently.

“We know that changing workplace culture takes time to filter through an organisation. Encouragingly forward-thinking employers, like those organisations taking part in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index, are taking steps in the right direction and their bespoke reports identify what they are doing well and the areas for improvement.

“Organisations in the Index recognise that making workplace wellbeing an organisational priority is not just the right thing to do, but makes good business sense too.”

An earlier survey by the Mental Health Foundation found 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. Stress and other forms of mental ill health have been linked to productivity problems. The latest Office for National Statistics figures show that, while unemployment has fallen by 46,000 [although there are regional disparities] and wages are rising at an average annual rate of 2.9%, productivity fell.

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