The issue of mental health is still being brushed under the carpet in too many workplaces, with many employees afraid to speak out before their mental health problems escalate and result in long-term absence or even unemployment.
Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development finds one in four of the UK workforce have experienced a mental health problem during employment. However, too few employers are taking positive steps to manage this increasingly business-critical issue.
Just 25% of the 2,000 employees surveyed say their organization encourages staff to talk openly about mental health issues. Only four in ten say they would feel confident saying if they had a problem.
This should be of concern to employers – besides their duty of care to staff – because stress is now the biggest cause of long-term absence from work.
But it is not just absence which hits business. The survey shows that most people with poor mental health continue to work, yet may struggle with concentration, making good decisions and providing effective customer service.