Over half of workers with mental health issues believe there is inadequate support. There is a desire for wellness initiatives (45%), flexible working (40%), clearer policies (35%) and more open discussions about mental health (34%).
People with mental health issues are twice as unhappy at work as those without. Discrimination in the workplace double for those with mental health issues. Research from OfficeGenie.co.uk has found 51% of people with mental health issues think there is inadequate support in the workplace. Employees with mental health issues are on average twice as unhappy at work than their coworkers who have stated they do not have such problems: 26% compared to a mere 13%.
Employees with mental health issues selected wellness initiatives (45%), clearer policies (35%) and more open discussions (34%) as solutions to this disparity. There was also a desire for funding for external support (25%) and regular HR consultations (21%). Flexible working has been highlighted as a key area for improvement: 49% of people with mental health issues cannot work from home and of that percentage, 82% of those believe it would improve their happiness with work.
When 16% of people with mental health issues say they have faced discrimination in the workplace compared to 7% of those without, this also bears serious consideration.
Peter Ames, Head of Strategy at OfficeGenie.co.uk, said: “The findings are shocking, and show attitudes to mental health still need to change. If employees have felt discriminated against, or feel they are lacking support, we’d advise them to consult Mind as a first step.
“For employers, providing mental health support offers the opportunity to make potentially-vulnerable staff feel supported and welcome, and for the employers themselves to excel. There is no reason why every workplace shouldn’t have clear and defined policies on such matters, and strong plans for support. The fact that, in 2016, many don’t needs to be addressed.”
Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, offers the following response: “These worrying findings highlight the need for better support for people with mental health problems at work. We are starting to see many employers take the issue of poor mental health at work more seriously, and it’s in their interests to do so. After all, employers who have in place accessible and well-promoted wellbeing initiatives are more likely to report better staff engagement, morale and productivity, as well as decreased sickness absence.
“Under the Equality Act, every employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for any employee with a disability, including a mental health problem which can impact on an individual’s ability to carry out their role. Adjustments need not be large or expensive – things like offering flexible working hours, changes to hours and location of work, or giving the option to work from home, can all make a huge difference.”