Mental health: a third of UK employees keep quiet

Written by
Changeboard Team

17 Oct 2016

17 Oct 2016 • by Changeboard Team

New research has revealed that a worrying number of UK employees wouldn’t tell anyone at work if they were suffering from mental illness. 

A study released today by wellbeing charity CABA has found that 32% of Brits would suffer in silence if they were afflicted by stress, anxiety or depression. 

Comparatively, 57% of employees would open up about suffering with poor mental health. One in four would confide in their manager, with only 5% comfortable in telling HR, making it the least popular outlet. 11% don’t know who they would turn to.

Kelly Feehan, services at CABA said: “One in four people experience a mental health issue every year, so it’s alarming that so many adopt the British ‘stiff upper lip’ mentality and suffer in silence. Therefore it’s important for businesses to promote a supportive, non-judgemental ethos to encourage employees to open up.

“Line managers are evidently highly valued, so employers must ensure that these individuals are well trained to reassure and advise on sensitive issues that may be presented to them, and guide their mentee in the right direction if professional help is required.”

The survey broke down a person’s likelihood to discuss their problems by demographic. The analysis revealed that over-55s were less likely to disclose their issues, as 40% would prefer to keep quiet. Those aged between 25 and 34 were more likely, as only 18% would rather not discuss the issue.

The likelihood of talking about mental health also correlated to an employee’s salary. Only 48% of those that earned over £150,000 would open up about their problems, compared to 69% of mid-level earners.

Feehan added: “Our research highlights a correlation between workers in more senior, higher paid roles and a reluctance to open up about mental health worries. It’s important to remember that mental illness is indiscriminate. 

“If you fear being judged for sharing your experience, there are outlets available which offer counselling and impartial advice on overcoming stress, anxiety and depression. Failing to address mental health concerns can negatively impact wellbeing, job performance and relationships. Remember that a problem shared is a problem halved, so take the weight off your mind and be comforted in the knowledge that you’re proactively moving towards a happier, healthier future.”