More than three quarters (88%) of respondents who have experienced mental health problems in the last five years have been through times where they felt distressed at work, according to research by Unum and the Mental Health Foundation.
The survey of 1,000 people who have experienced mental health problems and 1,000 line managers, also found that 49% of respondents who have had a mental health problem in the last five years have come to work while experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings.
The research also found:
- 39% of line manager respondents with no history of mental health problems have felt distressed in the workplace.
- 5% of line manager respondents who have not experienced a mental health problem have gone to work with suicidal thoughts or feelings.
- 85% of line manager respondents with lived experience of mental health problems have gone to work while feeling stressed, upset or depressed.
Liz Walker (pictured), HR director at Unum UK, said: “Many employees don’t feel comfortable discussing mental health in the workplace, and employers often wait for awareness days like Blue Monday before openly discussing mental wellbeing. Line management plays a critical role in this by educating, supporting and communicating the support available for those who may be in need.
“Employers should support mental health all year round, and communicate to their staff the care available via their employee benefits packages.”
Jenny Edwards, CBE, chief executive officer at the Mental Health Foundation, added: “Blue Monday is a bit of an exaggeration, let’s remember that any day might be a blue day for our staff. Distress at work is not limited to those with diagnosed mental health problems. This is why businesses need to take a whole [organisation] approach to addressing mental health within the workplace.”