Workload is root cause of financial services mental health problems

Workload is one of the main drivers of mental ill health in financial services, but many feel unable to address it with their manager, says survey.


Only 46% of those working in financial services would feel confident about speaking to their manager about mental ill health, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI).

The survey of over 3,600 workers found workload is one of the main drivers of poor mental health.

Respondents were asked how confident they would be talking to their manager at work if they felt they were suffering from stress, anxiety or depression found 23% said they were “unsure” and 31% said they were “not confident” talking to their manager.

Many respondents to the CISI survey chose to leave anonymous comments which showed a lack of trust in HR departments and managers, problems over work-life balance, underfunding of the NHS for mental health support and challenges faced by women in the workplace and bullying. Long working hours and the pace of activity during the working day was continually reported by respondents.

A 2017 survey of absences in the industry found a third were due to mental ill health.

Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, said: “These figures echo similar findings by Mind, and show that too many people still feel unable to come forward to talk about their mental health at work. We have started to see progress being made by many organisations regarding workplace wellbeing, but there is clearly a long way to go. Employers and managers must take urgent action to create workplace cultures where staff feel able to discuss their mental health and be met with support and understanding if they do.”

Simon Culhane, Chartered FCSI and CISI CEO said: “This is the first time we have sought to find out how those in our profession feel about mental health. We are overwhelmed and moved by the strength of feeling on this issue amongst our members.

“The feedback in particular has shown that workload and working hours are root causes in respondent’s experiences. These factors are controlled largely by the culture within a firm, which is in itself determined by the leadership. If leaders have an enlightened approach to their own well being as it relates to work stress, then this is an important example to set staff, to show the importance of self-care as it relates to mental health.

“There are firms who are leading the way with their approaches to reducing the stigma about mental ill health. There is also lots of work underway by large charities and initiatives, such as the Lord Mayor’s Trust’s This Is Me campaign. The profession as a whole can learn from both, while sharing individual stories from staff who have experience in this area, actively demonstrating that mental ill health should be treated as any other illness without a stigma attached. Admitting to mental ill health is not a weakness.”


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