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Jamie Lawrence

Wagestream

Insights Director

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Employers not doing enough to address the stress taboo, says Mind

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Stressed workers are suffering in silence against a culture of mental health taboo, according to new statistics released today from mental health charity Mind.

Almost half (45%) of the 2060 workers polled by Mind said that staff are expected to cope without mentioning stress at work and a third (31%) said they would not be able to talk openly to their line manager if they felt stressed.

This is not the first line we’ve been reminded of the importance of line managers in supporting employees’ wellbeing in the workplace.

Mind has also found a huge difference in the perceptions of managers and other staff about how mental health is addressed in the workplace.

Just 22% of workers felt that their boss takes active steps to help them manage stress. Yet 68% of managers seem to believe they are doing enough to support staff – 68% say they would find ways of helping staff who were stressed or experiencing a mental health problem.

Other findings from the survey of 2000 workers include:

  • 36% believe looking after staff mental wellbeing is an organisational priority
  • 42% believe that in their workplace stress is regarded as a sign of weakness or that you can’t cope
  • 32% think time off for stress is treated as seriously as time off for physical illness
  • 42% believe time off for stress is seen as an ‘excuse’ for something else

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, 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.

“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 measures they can put in place to improve wellbeing and make a huge difference to all staff.”

The Mind survey was conducted by Populus and surveyed 2060 adults aged 18+ in England and Wales, in work between March 6-10 2013.

Mind are in the process of writing a series of articles on mental health for HRZone. The first two are below:

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Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence
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