According to a new report, business bosses have witnessed a rise in mental health issues at work.
The survey, which was conducted by HR support group Peninsula, found that 46 percent of employers have seen a rise in mental health issues in the last year. However, only 12 percent of workers were prepared to confide in their managers, and of those who did, only 14 percent said that anything was done to assist them.
Peninsula gathered data from more than 79,000 businesses across the UK, Canada, Australia and Ireland. The picture revealed by respondents shows variation amongst these countries, with the UK experiencing the biggest change (64 percent) in the number of people talking openly about mental health issues. That notwithstanding, the UK lags behind other countries when it comes to providing “mental health days”.
Mental health days are offered by some businesses as a way of allowing employees to take time off if they are struggling with mental health concerns. Although prevalent in some sectors, such as the civil service, only 15 percent of UK employers offer their staff mental health days, and only 10 percent plan to roll them out over the next year.
At the same time, comparatively low numbers of staff across organisations are using employee assistance programmes to support their mental health. The chief operating officer of Peninsula Group, Alan Price, said: ‘Most overwhelmingly chose to speak to friends and family; use of the company EAP did not come in the top three responses in any of the four countries.
‘So, while employers are offering this support to employees, they should also remember that the service is there to support everyone – regardless of seniority within an organisation.’
Peninsula’s survey comes at a time when sickness at work is increasingly being discussed in the public arena. As reported by The Workers Union, recent data published by the ONS, revealed that nearly 185.6 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury during 2022, almost 25% more than 2021 and the highest since records began in 1995.
The Workers Union Says…
Mental health issues have a far-reaching effect on society, blighting lives and depressing productivity. But rather than dismiss them as something likely to fade away over time, company chiefs must take the long-term view and put appropriate management strategies in place.
Working people spend many hours of their lives earning a living, which means many hours in a relationship with an employer. Without a commitment from managers to invest in cultures that really nurture people’s mental wellbeing, these problems are likely to get worse before they get better.