A Quarter Of British Workers Scared To Tell Their Boss About Mental Health Issues

In Business, In The Press, Mental Health by Raina Dhillon

According to the NHS, one in four adults experiences at least one diagnosable mental health issue in any given year, with mental health problems being the largest single cause of disability in the UK today.

What is most scary, however, is that mental health problems affect people of all ages. Indeed, research published in the Harvard Business Review ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10 shows 75% of Generation Z have quit their job for mental health reasons.

But despite fantastic initiatives like World Mental Health Day, and major initiatives to raise awareness and support across the globe, the stigma surrounding this sensitive issue seemingly remains.

Some employees say their boss wouldn’t care…

In fact, new research by CV-Library reveals that a quarter (25.8%) of British workers are too afraid to tell their employers they are suffering with a mental health issue. More worryingly, a further four in 10 (39.3%) said that even if they did tell their boss, he or she would not care.

The study, which polled 2,000 UK professionals, also found that a third (33.2%) of British workers fear they’d be judged unfairly by their line manager if they told them about their mental health problems. A further 29.7% said their employer is unapproachable.

In addition to the findings outlined above, over a quarter (28.8%) of British workers say key aspects of their roles make them feel anxious. These include:

  • The potential of being fired (31%)
  • Neglecting personal relationships because of work (29%)
  • Their boss (19%)
  • Public speaking (18.5%)
  • Giving presentations (17.3%)

Perhaps the most eye opening of these figures is the number of British workers who are worried about being fired. But when you consider the uncertainty being caused by Brexit, and the fact many businesses are seeing various budgets being cut, the fear is much easier to understand.

The impact of poor mental health for employers

Whether it’s a dip in productivity, general detachment from the role or burnout, mental health issues can have an enormous impact, which is why employers need to sit up and take note. For example, nearly half (47.2%) of British workers say their anxieties negatively impact their performance at work, with over half (55%) feeling constantly stressed, 47.5% worrying about failure and 35.8% less likely to take on new challenges because of self-doubt.

And with unexplained mental health sick days reportedly costing the UK economy £1.4 billion a year, there is no better time than the present for employers to focus on addressing mental health in the workplace, according to Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library

“Every workplace has different needs, so a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work when it comes to mental health,” he stated. Nearly half (47.2%) of Brits claimed their anxieties affect their performance in the workplace, with 55% feeling constantly stressed, 47.5% worrying about failure and 35.8% being less likely to take on new challenges due to self-doubt,” he said.

As an employer, what are you doing to safeguard the mental health of your staff? It could be something as simple as creating an environment in which workers feel safe revealing any mental health issues they are experiencing, and providing the right support if/when they do.

I have over 15 years client facing experience in the Employee Benefits industry having worked for Mercer HR Consulting and The Willis Group in London. Bringing my expertise to mid and large corporate clients, I joined Premier Choice Healthcare in December 2015, with the aim of advising and developing a varied Corporate client portfolio.