41% see an increase in reported mental health problems

Mental health help support or thearpy-2015

More than two-fifths (41%) of employers have seen an increase in reported mental health problems over the last year, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), produced in conjunction with Simplyhealth.

The annual CIPD/Simplyhealth Absence management survey, which surveyed 578 employers, also found that 28% of respondents in the private sector are not taking any action to help their workforce with mental health issues.

The study also found:

  • 32% of respondents in the private sector currently offer a counselling service to support staff with mental health problems, compared to 70% of respondents in the public sector.
  • Under a quarter (21%) of respondents in the private sector are increasing mental health awareness across their workforce, compared to 47% of respondents in the public sector.
  • More than two thirds (69%) of respondents from large organisations and 51% of medium-sized employer respondents have reported an increase in reported mental health issues. 

Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, said: “Unfortunately, this year’s survey shows the number of reported mental health problems has increased for many employers, and after over half a decade at these levels, we can’t afford to let this issue continue to grow any longer. As a nation we’re getting better at opening up the conversation around mental health, but there is still a long way to go.

“So what more can employers do? Manager training is crucial, as they are often employees’ first point of call for reporting an issue, but only 30% of organisations currently provide it.

”There needs to be a lot more focus on this going forward, as well as tailored support for line managers from HR and signposting employees to appropriate support. Employers also need to look at how well their corporate culture supports good mental health and employee wellbeing.”

Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at metal health charity Mind, added: “These figures show just how common mental health problems are in the workplace and highlight why it’s so important that businesses make promoting staff mental wellbeing a priority.

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“Given how prevalent poor mental health is among staff, employers can no longer afford to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to tackling the causes of stress and poor mental health for their employees. It’s positive to see more staff opening up to their employers if they are struggling with their mental health.” 

The survey will be published on 12 October, following World Mental Health Day on 10 October.