The subject of mental health received a huge boost recently with Princes Harry and William sparking widespread news coverage of their own admissions of mental health struggles. A recent survey conducted by Comres for BBC Radio 5 live revealed that 49% of the 1,104 British adults questioned about their attitudes towards mental health would not be comfortable speaking up at work about these problems.
The good news was that 35% said they’d be happy to tell colleagues. But the problem with telling your boss about mental health issues is the fear of the consequences on your employment. You might be afraid of being passed over for promotion, denied opportunities for self-development, and possibly expose yourself to general discrimination, according to the director of the mental health charity, Time to Change. Her advice is consequently to speak up only if your employer is clearly supportive of mental health programmes.
Is this helpful? Considering that about one in six people suffer from such problems, millions of people are not getting the help they need. For businesses, the knock-on effects can result in absenteeism and low productivity, so it pays to focus some attention on mental health in the workplace.
Further research was conducted between January 2011 and March 2017 by employee wellbeing organisation Lifeworks, which runs an employee assistance programme (EAP).
The research found that there was a shocking 40% increase in the number of calls regarding anxiety and depression in 2016 and that 10% of employees that call the EAP report an impairment of their performance at work, with 9% on sick leave or are absent from their jobs.
In this context, the importance of creating an environment where employees do feel comfortable admitting mental health issues, and receiving support, cannot afford to be overlooked.
We are currently working with businesses to put a Mental Health Policy in place. This help focus business owners on what they need to do to create a healthy working environment. We can also help by advising on the resources available to businesses to help support them.
Our recent panel discussion on mental health wellbeing in the workplace brought out some very interesting insights and useful advice. Here panellist Dr Ann Fitzgerald responds to the question 'What Can Management do to support the wellbeing of their workforce?' with some very productive advice.
Please contact me (t. 01483 508551 e. firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to talk about how you can become one of the employers who makes a positive change to mental health in the workplace.
To view the full video of our panel discussion on mental health wellbeing in the workplace please click here.