Half of employees experience mental health problems at work

Study by mental health charity Mind finds that supporting managers to help can make all the difference.

A major study into workplace wellbeing by the mental health charity Mind has found that poor mental health at work is widespread, with half (48%) of all people surveyed saying they have experienced a mental health problem in their current job.

The survey of more than 44,000 employees also revealed that only half of those who had experienced poor mental health had spoken to their employer about it, suggesting as many as one in four UK workers is struggling in silence with problems such as anxiety, low mood and stress.

Last year’s ‘Thriving at Work’ report, following an independent review commissioned by the Prime Minister, revealed that as many as 300,000 people lose their job each year due to a mental health problem and that poor mental health at work costs the UK economy between £72bn and £99bn.

Separate research by Mind also revealed that one in three employers do not know where to look for information and guidance, and research from campaign group Heads Together shows that just 2% of people were prepared to talk to HR about mental health.

Taking care of the health and wellbeing of your team was a topic of discussion at the recent C&IT Agency Forum in August, where a panel discussed ways to help your staff maintain a good work-life balance

Supporting managers

In-depth analysis of the survey has revealed that supporting managers can make a huge difference. Managers who felt their employer supported their mental health, or actively built their skills in supporting team members with mental health problems, were far more likely to feel confident in promoting staff wellbeing.

Manager confidence, in turn, is closely linked with whether employees feel able to disclose. Those staff who felt their manager supported their mental health or could spot the signs that someone might be struggling were far more likely to say they would be able to talk about their mental health at work.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: "We are really proud to be involved in this piece of work, which offers a one-stop shop for anyone looking to improve mental wellbeing in their workplace and support staff with mental health problems.

"We know that employers want to do more and are starting to see mental health as a priority, but often don’t know where to start. The new online Mental Health at Work gateway will change that."

The online Mental Health at Work ‘gateway’ has been launched by Mind, with support from The Royal Foundation, Heads Together and 11 other organisations.

It brings together information, advice, resources and training that workplaces can use to improve wellbeing and give employees the mental health support they need.

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