Stoic staff fail to seek help after returning to work after injury

Staff returning to work after a physical injury are at risk of depression, but fail to seek help from their employer, research shows.

Returning to work, the role of depression by the Mental Health Foundation found 45% of staff were more worried about telling their employer about mental health issues than about physical illnesses such as cancer or heart disease.

Those suffering from depression or anxiety were also less likely to receive reduced job tasks, counselling or stress management compared with staff suffering from heart disease.

Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said managers were willing to help, but often lacked the knowledge or skills required.

“While there is a need for change, this report makes clear the need for improved training for managers, and clear policies and procedures from HR,” he said.

Susan Scott-Parker, chief executive at the Employers’ Forum on Disability, said that staff and managers need to work together on stress issues.

“Best practice on mental health at work is often about common sense principles, such as mental health awareness training and using cost-free, good management techniques,” she said. “Above all, adjustments need to have the support of both employees and employers to be a success,” she added.

The report recommends employers lengthen monitoring of staff to at least six months to ensure they provide adequate support. The research was based on the responses of more than 264 staff from the public and private sectors.

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