Half of workers (48%) have experienced a mental health problem in their current role, according to new research from mental health charity Mind.
The survey of more than 44,000 employees found that poor mental health at work is widespread, but only half of those who had experienced problems with stress, anxiety or low mood had talked to their employer about it. This suggests that as many as one in four workers is struggling in silence with poor mental health.
Separate research from the CBI also revealed that two in three (63%) businesses see workplace health and wellbeing as an important issue, but most find it difficult to take practical action because they are unclear about what works.
Manager confidence and managers being supported by their employers can make a big difference, the Mind research reported. It revealed that managers who felt their employer supported their mental health, or actively built their skills in supporting team members with mental health problems, were far more likely to feel confident in promoting staff wellbeing.
Manager confidence also plays a big part in whether employees feel comfortable disclosing problems, the research stated. Staff who felt their manager supported their mental health or who could spot the signs that someone might be struggling, were more likely to say they would be able to talk about their mental health at work.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, called on employers to change how they think about mental health at work.
“Over the last few years employers have begun to take staff wellbeing more seriously and we know that many are doing great work around mental health in the workplace. Now is the time for a step change in how we think about mental health at work. All employers need to make it a focus and support their staff,” he said.
“It’s clear from our research that when employers support their managers properly, it can make a big difference to the whole organisation.”
He added: “Even small changes to policy, approach and workplace culture can make a really big difference to the mental health of those around us.”
The findings come as the charity, with support from The Royal Foundation, Heads Together and 11 other organisations, launched its new online UK-wide portal for employers and employees. The Mental Health at Work ‘gateway’ brings together information, advice, resources and training that workplaces can use to improve wellbeing and give their employees mental health support.