Staff in Scotland with mental health problems fear discrimination at work

One-third of workers in Scotland who have taken time off due to a mental health problem felt forced to hide the reason for their absence from colleagues because of fear of being stigmatised, a study has shown.

Research from Scottish mental health charity See Me also found that 62% of people who were absent from work because of a mental health problem felt they were treated differently from when they were off with a physical illness.

Nearly half (43%) had felt encouraged to leave and not return because of their mental health problem.

Those experiencing mental ill health faced a crucial lack of support and understanding, said See Me. Just 37% of employers said they would take on people with mental ill-health problems, compared with 62% who would employ someone with a physical disability. And eight in 10 HR officers said they would employ a person with diabetes to an executive position, compared with just 3% who would appoint a person with depression to a similar role.

See Me director, Linda Dunion, said: “It’s important to give people with mental ill-heath the same respect and support as we would if someone had a physical illness.”

“Discrimination against staff because of their diagnosis of mental ill health shuts the door on talent in the workplace. No employer can afford to do that.”

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