Half (50%) of line manager respondents feel confident they could recognise the signs that a member of their team was having trouble coping with a mental health problem, according to research by the Mental Health Foundation and Unum.
The survey of 644 line managers who have not experienced a mental health problem and 1,265 employees who have been diagnosed with a mental health problem, also found that 34% of employee respondents who have experienced a mental health problem in the past five years have felt well supported by their manager.
The research also found:
- 64% of employee respondents who have experienced a mental health problem want a zero-tolerance approach to mental health stigma in the workplace, compared to 44% of line manager respondents.
- 45% of line manager respondents believe that an employee experiencing a mental health problem would be supported to remain in work by making reasonable adjustments to their role, and 19% of employee respondents report receiving this support.
- 73% of employee respondents who have experienced a mental health problem believe they would know how to speak to a colleague in a similar situation, compared to 60% of line manager respondents who have not experienced any mental health problems.
- 58% of employee respondents who have had a mental health problem in the past five years have chosen to disclose this to their employer.
- 54% of employee respondents who have chosen to disclose a mental health problem to their employer report having a mainly positive experience, and 15% report having a mainly negative experience, such as being discriminated against.
Liz Walker (pictured), HR director at Unum UK, said: “Mental health has been increasingly on the agenda recently and, while businesses are starting to pay attention, our research shows that there’s still a considerable gap between policies and everyday experiences of employees. There is no excuse to brush this under the carpet any more; it’s time for all organisations and leaders to be more vocal about mental health stigma and take responsibility for improving mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.”
Chris O’Sullivan, head of workplace mental health at the Mental Health Foundation, added: “We believe in workplaces that enable people to thrive, whatever their back story, and for that to happen people need to feel safe being authentic and open at work. We need to find ways for employers to promote and protect mental health across their businesses. A key way to do that is through encouraging and supporting those who have relevant experience to use that in their own development, and in providing support to others. Our research shows that valuing the insight of managers with lived experience could be an exciting way for employers to address mental health at work.”