VitalityHealth Launch Workplace Wellness Survey News Story

1 in 3 Employers Approach Mental Health Issues in Negative Way

A new survey by Canada Life Group Insurance has shown that plenty of work remains for those us striving to remove the stigma attached to mental health issues. The public discussion on mental health has moved in a positive direction in recent years yet the survey British employers still have progress to make, with many businesses still approaching the topic in a secretive, awkward or dismissive fashion. Indeed, almost a quarter (24%) think people with mental health problems tend to be discriminated against at work 

Over half, or 57%, of the survey’s respondents report they have suffered with a mental health problem at work, while a third (33%) get the impression their employer looks upon such issues in a negative manner. 13% felt their employers were dismissive and not taking the problem seriously – 12% suggested mental health is uncomfortable terrain for theirs, perhaps explaining why just 47% of staff suffering from a mental health issue felt able to open up to their bosses.

Just 5% said their organisation deals with them in a helpful way, yet 32% see theirs as offering no support to people suffering with a mental health issue. One quarter don’t know if their company has support in place and only 18% of employees are aware they can make use of employee assistance programmes (EAPs).

There is, however, demand for specially trained staff members with whom to discuss problems, with 22% saying it is something they would like to see at work, and 19% look favourably on the idea of workplace counselling services. The general thrust of the statistics suggests it is unsurprising that as many as 51% think UK businesses ought to do more to encourage better mental health among their teams.

Paul Avis, Marketing Director of Canada Life, said that a failure to promote the importance of wellbeing or entrenching the stigma attached to mental health problems among employees has a negative effect on company morale and the long term recovery prospects of individuals. 

He said, “Far too few organisations have a clear programme to support those suffering from mental ill-health and even fewer have communicated this effectively to their staff. The prevalence of mental ill-health in the workplace shows how important it is that this changes”.

He also suggested that EAPs are a good way of providing support and ensuring workers feel valued.

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