According to the Mental Health and Work study, many still feel that there is a stigma towards mental health problems in the work environment. The fear of judgement can stop employees from letting people know what they are going through.
The typical assumption is that if a person suffers from a mental health issue, like depression, they will be seen as someone who can’t work to the capacity of others who do not suffer. Even though The Equality Act of 2010 states that it is illegal to discriminate against anyone with a recurring or long-term mental health problem, many are still afraid of disclosing it at work, and even in the interview process.
The importance of letting someone know
The mental and physical symptoms of a mental health condition can make working very difficult. A study conducted by Simply Health highlighted that 56% of the UK working population feel that disclosing a mental health issue could hamper their career prospects. But not telling anyone can make things worse. If a mental health issue means that an individual has a lack of energy, poor concentration and suffers from a lack of sleep, it can make the idea of working nearly impossible. This can then lead to even more problems at work and at home.
What some companies are yet to realise, is that giving support to people who do suffer from mental health issues can provide a wealth of benefits that are not only for the people who are receiving the support. This can range from a rise in employee motivation and loyalty to less sick days taken.
In 2014/15, up to 35% of all absences were thought to be as a result of stress. If employees are just meant to carry on and internalise their struggles, these numbers will just get worse.
How to talk to someone if you are struggling
Speaking to your manager about your mental health can be a daunting prospect. Mind offers some useful advice on how to approach your employer about mental health issues. You may want to speak with your GP or a counsellor before to discuss how you can broach the subject.
Workplace Wellness Index
Mind will be launching the Workplace Wellness Index to promote the efforts of companies that take their employees’ mental and physical well-being seriously. It’s not about naming and shaming businesses, it’s about celebrating those who are taking positive steps to remove the stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace.