One-third of employees are uncomfortable discussing mental health at work

Jeff Phipps, managing director, UK and Ireland, at ADP

Almost a third (31%) of employees would not feel comfortable disclosing a mental health issue at work, according to research by payroll and HR solutions provider ADP.

The Workforce view in Europe 2019, published in March, surveyed 10,585 working adults across France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. It also found that three-fifths (61%) of employees believe that their employer is not interested in their mental wellbeing.

While 69% of employees stated that they would disclose a mental health issue in the workplace, half (51%) would only feel comfortable telling their close friends or colleagues.

Just 31% of employees confirmed that they would tell their manager, while only 13% would feel comfortable telling their HR representative.

Results across the UK were varied, as 75% of London-based employees would disclose a mental health problem, followed by the north west and north east of England (both 71%), and Scotland (70%). Those in the east of England (55%) and Yorkshire (63%) felt the least comfortable opening up at work.

The survey found that, of those employees aged between 16 and 34, 77% would raised a mental health issue at work, compared to 51% of those over 55.

Jeff Phipps (pictured), managing director, UK and Ireland, at ADP, said: “Most [organisations] do genuinely want to support employees, but communicating around the topic isn’t always easy. A good start is to lead by example; if employees see senior figures opening up about stress and mental health battles, it can help them to understand that they can too. And in fact, often the people who suffer the most are [an employer’s] most senior figures, so mental health should be something that is addressed right across the organisation.

“This goes back to what should be a primary objective for all [employers], leaders and employees: that work is more than what you do and is about achieving something greater for yourself and others.

“By leading employees in an open way and helping them feel comfortable disclosing any issues they’re facing, [employers] can create a more motivated, engaged and driven workforce.”