There is a huge difference in the perceptions of managers and other staff about how mental health is addressed in the workplace, according to new statistics from the mental health charity, Mind.
The survey, which polled over 2,000 workers, suggests that stressed workers are suffering in silence. Of those polled, 45 per cent said that staff are expected to cope without mentioning stress at work, and a third (31 per cent) said they would not be able to talk openly to their line manager if they felt stressed.
The survey also found that while only 22 per cent of workers felt their boss takes active steps to help them manage stress, managers appeared to feel differently with 68 per cent saying they would find ways of helping staff who were stressed, or experiencing mental health problems.
Chief executive of Mind, Paul Farmer, said: “These figures show that stress remains the elephant in the room in many workplaces. It also highlights the worrying disparity between how managers and other members of staff view their organisation’s approach to mental wellbeing.
“It is vital that managers are equipped with the tools they need to be able to confidently and effectively support their staff, whether they are experiencing stress or mental health problems as a result of work or other factors.”
Other findings from Mind’s survey include:
• 36 per cent of workers believe that looking after staff mental wellbeing is an organisational priority;
• 42 per cent believe that in their workplaces, stress is regarded as a sign of weakness or that you can’t cope;
• A third (32 per cent) think time off for stress is treated as seriously as time off for physical illness; and
• Nearly half (42 per cent) believe that time off for stress is seen as an excuse for something else.
Farmer added: “There is a real danger that companies are neglecting workplace mental health, with huge implications for staff wellbeing; not to mention productivity, motivation and sickness absence. Employers depend on their staff and there are lots of small, inexpensive measure they can put in place to improve wellbeing and make a huge difference to all staff.”
Lighthouse Comments: Stress is very undervalued issue in this country. Mainly due the MACHO image people put on believing that “they can’t be stressed”. There is also a lack of tolerance for accepting stress related issues, people make early judgment and see stress as an easy cop out. Stress will be soon (if not already) a big issue for this country. More needs to be done to change the mind set of workers under stress.