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Stigma of mental health issue still exists

Lee Biggins

Two thirds of workers are too embarrassed to tell their boss about their mental health issues. New research from the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library , has found that nearly two thirds (60.2 percent) of employees feel embarrassed about disclosing information on the state of their mental health with their employer. What’s more, 60.8 percent feel they cannot talk about it with their boss.

The report explored the views of 1,200 UK workers and found that a third of professionals (31.7 percent) feel that their workplace is not supportive of mental health, with a further 77.8 percent believing that the majority of workplaces in the UK are unsupportive. Other key findings from the research include:

Nearly two thirds (64.2 percent) of workers fear their employer would judge them if they spoke about their mental health issues, with a further 46.8 percent worrying that doing so will make them look weak. AND, one third (36.7 percent) fear that they would get fired if they told their boss about their mental health issues. What’s more, 63 percent said that they would feel guilty taking time off work for mental health reasons

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library comments on the findings: “Mental health in the workplace continues to be a hot topic, and this is because it is clearly not being dealt with effectively. We are a nation that is under more pressure than ever before and it’s therefore unsurprising that people will be feeling the effects whilst at work.”

“Businesses should prioritise creating a culture where openness and honesty are encouraged. In turn, this will ensure that workers feel comfortable confiding in their boss, making coming to work that little bit less stressful.”

With 70.7 percent of workers admitting that their mental health issues impact their working life, it’s clear that employers need to do more to help make the working day easier for people. When asked what measures they thought employers should introduce to help combat mental health in the workplace, respondents cited the following:

  • Promote a healthy work/life balance (38.6 percent)
  • Create an environment where mental health is not stigmatised (15 percent)
  • Refer employees to a counselling service (13.7 percent)
  • Talk more openly about mental health (11.9 percent)
  • Allow employees to take time out when they need to (8.6 percent)

In addition, 83.6 percent said that they think employers should offer ‘mental health days’, in which employees are encouraged to take time out to look after their health, with a further 78 percent stating that they would be more likely to work for a company that offered ‘mental health days’.

Biggins continues: “While losing out on staff temporarily may ring alarm bells for employers, it can actually help in the long run. Mental health should be dealt with in the same way as any other illness and it’s important to offer your employees time off should they need it. There are plenty of avenues to go down, and it’s imperative that you get it right. Otherwise, you could risk losing your employees altogether.”

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