Mental health check: employers must do more
CIPD new research reveals a notable rise in reported mental health problems at work – from a quarter of over 2,000 employees surveyed in 2011, to almost a third (31%) in 2016. Nevertheless, the majority of employees still don’t feel those with mental health issues get enough support at work. The CIPD are calling for employers to take more preventative steps to promote good employee mental well-being, encouraging a culture of openness and training line managers to provide and signpost support for their staff.
Despite the greater awareness about the need to pay attention to the psychological, as well as the physical, aspects of people’s health and well-being at work, the latest CIPD survey shows that there is some way to go before the majority of employers develop a robust framework in this area. If people have good mental health, and feel supported during times of poor mental health, they will feel more motivated, engaged and productive at work. Employers cannot afford to ignore people’s mental health in the workplace.
‘It’s not surprising that individuals who are experiencing poor mental health, and have gone into
work, are likely to report that their condition affects their performance in a range of ways.’
Research by MIND UK confirms that a culture of fear and silence around mental health is costly to employers:
- More than one in five (21 per cent) agreed that they had called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them
- 14 per cent agreed that they had resigned and 42 per cent had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them
- 30 per cent of staff disagreed with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’
- 56 per cent of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance
The social stigma around mental health issues needs to end, and employers need to recognise this and become more aware of both the important role they can play in helping employees, and in making mental health an acceptable and “normal” illness that people suffer from.
Managers should be aware of the stress levels of employees and working not only with those in need, but with everyone to improve the work environment.
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