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Mental health in the workplace

Napthens - May 23rd 2018

Research suggests that two thirds of us experience a mental health issue within our lifetime, yet mental health is often overlooked within the workplace. Mental Health Awareness Week has taken place this month aimed at raising awareness, especially within the workplace, in order to highlight the impact it has on staff of all ages and in any sector. In order to raise awareness and tackle the obstacles facing workers, Business In The Community (BITC) have, since 2016, ran a survey to monitor stress in the workplace and to look at ways employers can improve the mental health of employees.

The recent study has shown that those aged between 18 and 38 feel the most stress at work, with 28% of those polled reporting that there is an expectation that they would work through stress. This is in contrast to 18% of those aged between 53 and 71 who reported that they were expected to work through stress.

Worryingly, only 14% of people reported that they felt comfortable speaking to their manager about their stress levels. Even more concerning is that 15% of those surveyed had reported that they faced disciplinary procedures, demotion or dismissal after informing their manager about their mental health.

In last year's survey, 60% of workers reported that they suffered from mental health issues as a direct result of their work. In contrast only 24% of managers reported that they had any form of mental health training.

So what should employers do? As a starting point it’s important to ensure that all managers are given mental health training in order to spot and deal with any issues before they escalate. This should sit alongside a culture of openness within the business by encouraging staff to talk about any issues without fear of reprisals.

Finally, it’s important to ensure that your managers keep on top of mental health issues, as there is the possibility that mental health issues could amount to a disability.

For those who are interested in taking part in this year's survey, you can do so here.