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Progress on Mental Health in the Workplace?

employmentlaw@work / 11 October 2017

Tuesday 10 October 2017 was World Mental Health Day, and to mark this date a new Mental Health at Work Report 2017 has recently been issued.

In an age where more and more people are coming forward to openly discuss mental health issues and put them firmly in the media spotlight, the Report makes for some very interesting reading.  It concludes that business is waking up to the scale of poor mental health in the workplace, but that there is still a long way to go.

KEY DATES: 
The Report was issued on 4 October 2017.

IMPACT:
After surveying 3000 workers across the UK, the Report found that:

  • Almost one in three employees have been formally diagnosed with a mental health issue;
  • Three out of every five employees have experienced mental health issues due to work or where work was a related factor;
  • Just over half of employees feel comfortable talking about mental health issues like depression and anxiety at work; and
  • Only a third of 18 to 29 year olds are comfortable talking with their manager about mental health issues compared to almost half of people in their 40s.

The Report also shows a disparity between how business managers view workplace mental health and how employees feel about this.  Whilst 91% of managers agree that what they do affects the wellbeing of their staff, and 84% of managers accept that employee wellbeing is their responsibility, only 58% of employees feel that their line manager is genuinely concerned about their wellbeing.  Further, in 15% of cases where the employee disclosed a mental health issue to a line manager the employee became subject to disciplinary procedures, dismissal or demotion.

ACTION:

If you have particular concerns in this tricky area, you may wish to sign up to Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index which will help you find out where your business is doing well and where you could improve your approach to mental health in the workplace.

You should also consider whether your internal policies (such as your capability and absence procedures) are up to date and whether your managers would benefit from any specific training on dealing with mental health in the workplace.

Acas have also just published a new guidance booklet on Promoting Positive Mental Health in the Workplace.  This gives helpful tips on changing your workplace to promote positive mental health and where to go when further guidance and support are necessary.

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