Resistance to discussing mental health at work.

Productivity hit.

Three quarters of professionals in banking and financial services, commerce and industry and professional services who feel they may have a mental health issue are reluctant to make use of support provided by employers. The findings come from research by Morgan McKinley which also showed 98 per cent of respondents believe productivity at work is negatively affected when an individual struggles with mental health.

Conducted for Mental Health Awareness Week (13th – 19th May in the UK), Morgan McKinley’s Mental Health in the Workplace survey of 1,100 UK employees working  found that almost half of those questioned are either struggling with their mental health or think they have an issue, with 21 per cent being formally diagnosed with a mental health issue.

The research suggests that financial services had the highest proportion of professionals who have not sought a diagnosis but think they have an issue or are struggling (53 per cent). In comparison, the Professional Services sector had the greatest proportion of professionals formally diagnosed with a mental health issue (23 per cent) and a further 44 per cent of respondents ‘think they may have an issue’ or are ‘struggling but not diagnosed’.

Almost three quarters of respondents (73 per cent) believe it is good to talk about mental health in the workplace however, over a third (39 per cent) claimed their employer doesn’t offer any formal mental health support, and a further 34 per cent are unaware if any support is available at work. Of those who don’t have access to support, 54 per cent believe their mental health would benefit from having formal support in the office.

When considering this across sectors, 35 per cent of financial services respondents stated their employer offers formal support, followed by professional services (27 per cent) and commerce and industry (25 per cent). However, 66 per cent from professional services, 74 per cent from financial services and 80 per cent from commerce and industry who have formal support programmes at work do not make use of it. This suggests more needs to be done to understand why those employees who acknowledge that they have an issue are not utilising support offered at work.

“There’s a historical stigma that having a mental health issue is considered a ‘weakness’, although fortunately that view is changing. Despite raised awareness in recent years, many employers still aren’t doing enough to provide their workforces with mental health help,” says Andrea Webb, people director at Morgan McKinley. “Having programmes in place is not only a useful attraction and retention tool that can help create a happy and positive office culture, but also it ultimately contributes to a more productive workforce as people get the support they need. The fundamental foundations are in place at many organisations, but more needs to be done to improve confidence around the discussion of mental health issues at work so that individuals can get the help they require.”

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