A recent study showed that 78% of employers think employees are happy to discuss mental health issues however, what they don’t know is that employees are suffering in silence. Fewer than 1 in 10 employees feel comfortable talking to their managers about mental health problems.
Only 4% of those who have experienced depression and 5% of those who have experienced anxiety, felt as if they could speak to their line managers or supervisors about it. A taboo has been created around discussing mental health at work, when it should be common for employees to feel comfortable talking about their mental health. The majority of employers believe there is no barrier when discussing mental health problems.
Currently, mental health is costing employers approximately £30 billion per year. The study which asked 200 employers, showed that 22% are investing in developing line manager competence and capability. This is so staff members suffering with mental health problems can be supported and managed in the workplace. Also, employers don’t realise that mental health isn’t just employees suffering from anxiety and depression. There are so many different mental health issues and its important employees are aware of this.
The problem is that employees fear they’ll lose their job if they informed their line manager about their mental health issues, when this shouldn’t be the case. Workers also worry they’ll damage relationships and risk future employers learning of illnesses and judging them. Workers need to feel at ease when raising mental health issues at work. They also need to trust that they will be supported at all times. The majority of line managers will need training to cover how to have these kinds of discussions with members of their team.
It’ll help workers to feel happier and confident at work because they don’t have anything to hide from their employer and they feel supported. Employees will also feel more productive, as they know they’re getting the help they need. It will help towards reducing stress for the employee, which in turn will reduce stress at home.
The employee will also feel more included in the workplace rather than isolated, because employers will be aware of their mental health issues. It will help to increase the employee’s satisfaction as there is a culture of acceptance. This will also benefit the employer because it could attract more employees and retain current ones since they have a happy and healthy company culture.
If you need advice on how to make employees feel more comfortable when talking about their mental health, please contact a member of the HPC team:
T: 0844 800 5932