33% say their employer has a negative approach to mental health

Paul Avis

A third (33%) of respondents believe that their employer has a negative approach to mental health issues, according to research by Canada Life Group Insurance.

Its survey of 1,000 employees also found that 57% of respondents have experienced mental health problems while in employment.

The research also found:

  • 13% of respondents believe their employer is dismissive and does not take mental health problems seriously.
  • Just 5% of respondents say their employer is helpful when dealing with mental health issues.
  • 8% say their employer is secretive about mental health, with no one ever talking about it.
  • 12% of respondents receive a negative response after speaking to their employer about mental health issues.
  • Less than half (47%) of respondents experiencing mental health issues open up to their employer.
  • Around a third (32%) of respondents believe their organisation provides no support for those experiencing a mental health problem, and a quarter (25%) are unaware of the type of support their employer offers.
  • 23% of respondents have access to occupational health and counselling services for mental health support.
  • 18% are aware that they have access to an employee assistance programme (EAP), and 16% would like an EAP to be offered.
  • 22% of respondents would like a trained, designated member of staff to discuss problems with.
  • 51% of respondents who have experienced a mental health issue while in work agree that employers need to do more to encourage good mental health among their staff.

Paul Avis (pictured), marketing director oat Canada Life Group, said: “A worrying lack of understanding around mental health is emerging in the working world. It is crucial for employers to communicate with employees so they understand they won’t be penalised or treated differently if suffering from mental health problems.

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“The sheer lack of awareness of mental ill health in the workplace is a very worrying trend when you consider over 50% of people experience these types of problems.

“Employees must feel able to confide in their employers when struggling with mental health conditions so they can receive whatever support they need. Failing to promote the importance of wellbeing or enhancing the stigma of mental ill health among employees will have a negative impact on collective morale and individual recovery in the long term.”