Women are less able to open up in the workplace about their mental health than men, a new poll suggests.
According to the survey by mental health treatment provider Smart TMS, around three in 10 women (29%) do not feel comfortable having conversations about their mental health for fear of being judged.
Another sad finding of the survey is the fact that women also feel less able to talk to their partners, friends or family about their mental health, so often do not get the support they need.
Indeed, a quarter (24%) of women surveyed said they feel unable to talk to their partner about their mental health vs. 20% of men. Meanwhile, 39% of women feel significantly less confident than they once were compared to 28% of men.
Because of severe anxiety, more than a quarter (27%) of women regularly cancel plans and self-isolate to avoid social interaction. In comparison, 21% of men indicated that they do the same when experiencing severe anxiety.
Many women ‘too busy’ to focus on their mental health
Worryingly, a quarter (25%) of women are too busy to prioritise their mental wellbeing. This is despite them having consistent symptoms of depression or severe anxiety.
In the workplace, 29% of women say they cannot discuss their mental health wellbeing with colleagues because they fear doing so will negatively impact their professional reputation or job. However, 31% of women said they suffer from “unmanageable” levels of stress and anxiety as a result of work.
Speaking about the findings of the report, Gerard Barnes, chief executive of Smart TMS, said that more awareness is needed to help people identify the symptoms of mental health conditions and enable them to get the support they need – especially women.
“Britain’s employers must provide more mental health support and wellness initiatives, and health services must be equipped with the resources needed to introduce more support and explore new treatment methods,” he said.
Helping colleagues with mental health conditions
Creating an environment where individuals feel comfortable talking about stress, anxiety and any other mental health conditions they are experiencing is crucial.
In addition, the mental health charity Mind has comprised this list of 5 tips to help people support their colleagues who may be experiencing mental health issues:
- Encourage them to talk – Let them know you are there if they want to talk.
- Encourage them to seek workplace support – like Employee Assistance Programmes and company counselling schemes.
- Avoid making assumptions – Never guess how someone is feeling or what impact it is having on their job.
- Respect confidentiality – Treat everything as confidential and sensitive. Breaching a person’s trust will likely exacerbate their situation.
- Learn more about mental health – Take the time to find out about mental health conditions and the ways in which they affect people.
Whether you’re an employee, a line manager or an HR professional, you can find information and practical steps to promote wellbeing and tackle stress and poor mental health in the workplace by visiting the Mind website.
The statistics for mental health wellbeing cannot be ignored and both employers and employees need to work in harmony to manage this and address the issues. There are several solutions to help both employers and employees develop a strategic plan of action and Premier Choice are well placed to assist you in your planning, preparation and implementation.
I joined Premier Choice Group as an SME/Corporate Consultant in 2017 and look after the Healthcare & Protection needs of a nationwide portfolio. I began my career in Healthcare and Protection in 1985 with BUPA, before moving on to Royal & Sun Alliance. In 2002, I became an Intermediary and worked with Private Clients, SME’s and Corporate clients on a local, national and international basis.