According to a recent survey conducted by mental health charity Mind, a huge number of workers feel that they are unable to discuss their mental health concerns with colleagues or employers.
The Taking care of business campaign which was published yesterday, revealed that 1 in 5 people thought that mentioning their stress levels at work would put them to the top of the redundancy list.
The survey of over 2000 workers also revealed that 41 per cent of the employees surveyed were currently stressed or very stressed in their jobs, 48 per cent were concerned about taking time of work sick and 7 in 10 said their boss wouldn’t help them to cope with stress.
According to the Centre for Mental Health (CMH) last year the financial effects of mental illness in the workplace reached £26bn, an indicator that more needs to be done by employers to prevent workers from falling into a downward spiral of anxiety and depression.
Mind is now campaigning to challenge this stigma in the workplace and wants employers to begin identifying and supporting staff who are struggling with either stress or mental health problems.
Mind spokeswoman Amy Whitlock commented that mental health problems still remain the elephant in the room. ”Poor communication fuels the problem because if your boss or manager doesn’t even ask how you are, how could you possibly approach them about anything more sensitive? There is still a culture of denial which means employees are afraid to speak out because they fear discrimination or being thought of as weak, and employers are afraid to broach the subject in case they make things worse”. She said.
CMH chief executive, Andy Bell has said that the message of openness must come from the top but managers and supervisors are also key to the process as they are the ones who will spot signs of employees under performing. CMH’s new report Managing Presenteeism will show employers how to detect mental health problems early on as well as recommending better support. The report is to be published later this month.
For further information about Mind and their services please visit www.mind.org.uk and for information about counselling for depression, stress , anxiety and career counselling please visit our fact-sheets.