Just under half (49%) of respondents working in the public sector felt supported when disclosing mental health problems, compared with 61% of those working for private sector organisations, according to research by mental health charity Mind.
Its survey of 15,022 employees, of which 5,746 work in the public sector and 7,191 in the private sector, also found that just under half (48%) of those in the public sector have taken time off work because of their mental health, compared with less than a third (32%) in the private sector.
The research also found:
- 38% of respondents who work in the public sector believe their workplace culture allows staff to be open about mental health problems, compared to 29% of respondents in the private sector.
- 69% of respondents working in the public sector who have taken time off work for mental health reasons were honest about the reason for needing time off, compared to 59% of respondents working in the private sector.
- 15% of respondents who work in the public sector are likely to say their mental health is poor, versus 9% of respondents in the private sector.
- 53% of public sector respondents and 43% of private sector respondents have felt anxious at work on several occasions over the last month.
- 90% of respondents who work in the public sector and have a mental health problem have disclosed it to their employer, compared to 80% of respondents who work in the private sector.
Paul Farmer (pictured), chief executive officer at Mind, said: “Mental health is one of the biggest domestic issues facing the next government. More people than ever are speaking out about mental health and demanding change. As a nation, our expectations for better mental health for all are higher than ever and the next government must rise to this challenge.
“A vital part of changing the lives of people with mental health problems is to tackle the culture of fear and silence in the workplace that stops people opening up about what they are experiencing. This data shows that the public sector in particular is making progress here. But it’s also vital that when people do speak out they get the right help and support at the right time. It’s clear there is still a long way to go in both the public and private sector to address the gap between people asking for support and actually getting what they need.
“By promoting wellbeing for all staff, tackling the causes of work-related mental health problems and supporting staff who are experiencing mental health problems, organisations can help keep people at work and create mentally healthy workplaces where people are supported to perform at their best.”