Consensus HR

Your outsourced HR department.

Employees with mental health issues face a lack of support and discrimination

Published in Absence Management, Employment Law, General, Handbook

Over half of workers with mental health issues believe there is inadequate support

  1. There is a desire for wellness initiatives (45%), flexible working (40%), clearer policies (35%) and more open discussions about mental health (34%)
  2. People with mental health issues are twice as unhappy at work as those without
  3. Discrimination in the workplace is double for those with mental health issues

In the run up to Time to Talk Day, research from OfficeGenie.co.uk has found 51% of employees with mental health issues think there is currently not enough support in the workplace. Employees with mental health issues are on average twice as unhappy at work than coworkers who do not face such health issues: 26% compared to a mere 13% [1].

Employees with mental health issues selected wellness initiatives (45%), clearer policies (35%) and more open discussions (34%) as solutions to this disparity. There was also a desire for funding for external support (25%) and regular HR consultations (21%).

Flexible working has been highlighted as a key area for improvement: 49% of people with mental health issues cannot work from home and of that percentage, 82% of those believe it would improve their happiness with work.

When 16% of people with mental health issues say they have faced discrimination in the workplace compared to 7% of those without, this also bears serious consideration.

Peter Ames, Head of Strategy at OfficeGenie.co.uk, said: “The findings are shocking, and show attitudes to mental health still need to change. Time to Talk Day, on 2nd Feb, offers employees the ideal opportunity to consider the support they offer their staff.

“For employers, providing mental health support offers the opportunity to make potentially-vulnerable staff feel supported and welcome, and for the employers themselves to excel.

“There is no reason why every workplace shouldn’t have defined policies on such matters, and strong plans for support. The fact that, in 2017, many don’t needs to be addressed – particularly with the government’s recent focus on mental health.

“We would urge the government to implement clear and pertinent initiatives to ensure employers provide suitable mental health support in the workplace.”

Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, offers the following response: “These worrying findings highlight the need for better support for people with mental health problems at work. We are starting to see many employers take the issue of poor mental health at work more seriously, and it’s in their interests to do so. After all, employers who have in place accessible and well-promoted wellbeing initiatives are more likely to report better staff engagement, morale and productivity, as well as decreased sickness absence.

“Under the Equality Act, every employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for any employee with a disability, including a mental health problem which can impact on an individual’s ability to carry out their role. Adjustments need not be large or expensive – things like offering flexible working hours, changes to hours and location of work, or giving the option to work from home, can all make a huge difference.”