Research from the CIPD in association with Simplyhealth for Mental Health Awareness Week this week has found an increase in the number of reported mental health issues among UK employees.
According to the CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Well-being at Work survey:
· Over half of UK organisations (55 per cent) have seen an increase in the number of reported common mental health conditions over the last 12 months, compared to two-fifths (41 per cent) in 2016
· Mental ill health is now the primary cause of long-term absence in over a fifth of UK organisations (22 per cent)
· Stress-related absence has increased over the last year in nearly two-fifths of organisations (37 per cent)
· Workload remains by far the most common cause of stress at work, followed by management style
· Around half of respondents (53 per cent) agree that their organisation encourages openness about mental health, is effective at supporting people with mental ill health (50 per cent) and actively promotes good mental well-being (46 per cent). Less than a third (31 per cent), however, agree that senior leaders encourage a focus on mental well-being through their actions and behaviour
“We’re seeing a significant increase in the number of reported mental health issues among employees in UK organisations,” says Rachel Suff, senior employment relations adviser at the CIPD. “While it might be that more people are feeling that they can disclose a mental health issue, the links between increased stress at work and mental health issues cannot be ignored. It’s crucial that the right measures are in place to care for everyone’s mental health at work, and employers are proactive rather than reactive in their approach to supporting employee well-being as a whole.
“In order to do this, line managers need to have the training and guidance to feel confident and ready to have conversations with employees about their mental well-being, and support them in the right way,” she adds. “Our research finds that organisations with managers who are able to effectively promote good mental health are less likely to have seen an increase in reported common mental health conditions, which shows how crucial that capability is. It’s also vital that senior leaders are visibly committed to encouraging good mental well-being, acting as role models and champions throughout their organisation. Only by challenging any potential stigma and increasing awareness around mental health at work can we start to break the silence and start to build more open and inclusive workplaces.”