30% do not feel able to speak openly to their manager about mental health


Around one-third (30%) of respondents feel that they do not have a close enough relationship with their line manager to talk openly about their mental health, according to research by Westfield Health.

The Mental resilience survey 2016, which polled 2,000 working adults across the UK, also found that 53% of respondents who have taken time off work due to mental health issues feel uncomfortable speaking to their line manager about the real reason for their absence.

The research also found:

  • 34% of respondents feel that line managers are more interested in getting an employee back to work as soon as possible instead of supporting them with the management of their mental health.
  • 32% of respondents feel they were treated differently by their line manager on their return to work following a period of absence for mental health reasons.
  • 50% of respondents suffering from a mental health condition, such as stress, anxiety or depression, did not take time off work.
  • 21% of respondents believe that admitting the real reason for their absence from work would have a negative effect on their career.
  • 30% feel unsure about who to talk to or where to find help or support regarding mental health issues.

David Capper, executive director at Westfield Health, said: “Mental illness is a fact of life and can affect anyone at any time. However, there is still a stigma surrounding it which results in this unacceptable silence in the workplace.

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“Without open, honest conversations in organisations, many employers might think they provide a good support package for employee illness, but actually it’s failing to address one of the most common problems. What’s more, a lack of transparency means the problem is much bigger than many employers realise.

“Without staff opening up about the real reason for their absence, managers will never know the extent of the problem and will leave themselves in danger of not properly addressing the issue.”