38% feel work has a negative impact on their mental health

Dave CapperOver a third (38%) of respondents feel their working environment has a negative effect on their mental wellbeing, according to research by Westfield Health.

Its Mental resilience survey, which surveyed 1,825 UK employees to mark Mental Health Awareness Week (16-22 May 2016), also found that half (50%) of respondents feel their workplace does not manage mental health issues well.

The research also found:

  • 60% of respondents admit that mental health issues affect their everyday life.
  • 50% of respondents who have suffered with a mental health issue did not take time off work.
  • 63% of respondents want employers and employees to share responsibility and do more to manage mental resilience and mindfulness in the workplace.
  • 40% of respondents found a mental health issue arising due to the negative impact of a physical ailment.

Dave Capper (pictured), executive director at Westfield Health, said: “These findings lead us to believe employers face a ‘mental health iceberg’, with only a small proportion of mental health problems being recognised and managed, and a much larger proportion of issues remaining hidden below the surface.

“Although we’re seeing improvements in mental health provision in general, it seems workplaces are lagging behind, and this gap needs to be addressed.”

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Brian Dow, director of external affairs at Rethink Mental Illness, added: “It’s important for people to feel they can talk about mental health in the workplace. It could be something like setting time aside in one-to-ones to ask employees how they are doing both in and outside of work, developing work-life balance initiatives, or equipping managers to recognise the signs of common mental illness conditions.

“The business cost of mental ill health among the UK workforce is thought to total £26 billion and, although this issue has been swept under the carpet in the past, it is now a concern which employers are reaching out and asking for help about.”