Report finds one third feel stigma around mental health exists in workplace

A survey of over 2,000 managers and employees conducted by a not-for-profit, private healthcare provider found that a third of employees still felt stigma existed around mental health.

Benenden Health’s survey looked at why people were reluctant to discuss their mental well-being, with over a third of employees feeling as though others would view them as incapable of doing their job.

The report found 42 per cent of employers witnessed an employee leaving because they didn’t feel mentally supported, with 58 per cent of employees experiencing a negative situation at work, which directly affected their mental health.

An anonymous source said: “My mental health was used against me and I got fired literally days ago.

“If I was acting a certain way, he would then blame it on my mental health.

“My mental health was definitely impacted, to the point where I would go to bed nervous, and I would wake up nervous, just wondering what he was gonna say to me next.”

The report emphasised the stigma workers felt surrounding their mental health, as it showed that more than half of sick days taken were because of poor mental health, and 24 per cent took it as annual leave to avoid any questions.

Psychotherapist Amanda Onwuemene MSc said: “When people feel unsafe discussing their mental health issues in the workplace, they may not seek help and assistance that may be available to them. 

“It means that people are more likely to take days off sick under the guise of having a migraine, stomach upset or other physical illness, than admit to having mental health issues.”

EFT Master Practitioner and Trainer, Lauren Rosenberg said: “A lot of my clients said they never spoke to anyone because they felt like they had to deal with it alone, they weren’t going to be understood, or they were going to be judged.”

Benenden Health’s main goal has been to offer affordable private healthcare to members, remaining a not-for-profit society, only open to the public since 2012.

Although some organisations have made steps to combat this with health workshops and mental health First Aiders, it hasn’t been enough, since only 36 per cent of employees felt that mental health was a priority.

Ms Onwuemene added: “All levels of staff can be affected by mental health issues, therefore training needs to include all levels of staff.”

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