Employers are failing to provide adequate support to employees or equip managers with the skills to help them when it comes to mental health, according to a report released today by Business in the Community.
More than three-quarters (77%) of employees have experienced symptoms of poor mental health at some point in their lives, and for over six in ten (62%), work has been a contributing factor.
Despite this, over half of employees who disclosed symptoms of poor mental health said that their employer took no mitigating actions, and only one manager in five (22%) had had relevant mental health training at work.
Mental health resources
The Mental Health at Work report also found that business leaders are disconnected from the reality of employee experiences, with 60% of board members believing that their organisation supports people suffering from mental ill health. Almost half (49%) of employees said that they would not talk to their managers about a mental health issue.
Louise Aston, wellbeing director at Business in the Community said: “Millions of employees are suffering in silence and feel unable to share their experiences at work. When they do reach out, many are met with an inadequate response… Our findings show that we need more openness, more training and information, and more support for employees and managers.”
Managers do want to help, however, with more than three-quarters (76%) believing that staff wellbeing is their responsibility, yet 80% say organisational barriers prevent them from delivering it.
The result is that the default responses to supporting employees with poor mental health are time off work and a job change, both of which go against what employees want and good practice.
Aston continued: “It is good that mental wellbeing is on the radar for leaders and managers, but this is still not translating into the right workplace cultures or adequate support for employees experiencing poor mental health.
“Employers must accept the scale of mental ill health in the workplace and start taking a preventative approach now… This means getting the work culture right in the first place so that they promote good work and work-life balance. Progress will only happen when employers approach mental ill health as they would physical ill health.”
The report was produced with YouGov and surveyed more than 20,000 workers across the UK.