Employers are willing to listen to their staff’s mental health problems

June 8, 2022

Along with sensitive topics like the menopause and financial worries – many workers still do not want to share mental health problems with their employer, according to a new poll.

The findings form part of a much wider study into the nation’s mental health and wellbeing and reveals that 66 per cent of UK adults would not share their mental health struggle with an employer.

It also found that despite 37 per cent of respondents saying their mental health had worsened over the last year, a third (33 per cent) say they were not offered any physical or emotional wellbeing support in the workplace.

With evidence that employees are being left to manage wellbeing issues on their own,   businesses are being urged to engage in conversations and offer targeted support.

Peterborough-based Anne Corder Recruitment engages with employers and job seekers on a daily basis and has conducted its own online survey to gauge the mood – and the findings reveal that employers are willing to listen to their staff’s mental health problems.

Managing Director Nel Woolcott said: “While the topic of mental health has been around for many years, the pandemic has certainly cast a spotlight on a subject that affects many people in so many different ways.

“We would all like to think that with more understanding, available support and communication channels that people can seek the help they need with greater ease, but it does remain a concern that so many employees do not feel able to speak to their employer.

“With this in mind, we conducted our own survey, asking employers how they felt they could best support staff.”

Respondents overwhelmingly (73 per cent) favoured a confidential one-to-one conversation with staff, while a fifth (20 per cent) said that a collective voicing of concerns as part of a team update could be a productive way of sharing, supporting and addressing any mental health issues.

A small percentage – just seven per cent – thought that a company wellbeing policy would be beneficial.

Despite media coverage of popular wellbeing away days and treats for employees (including petting lambs and planting trees), this option was not a consideration for respondents.

Nel added: “The pandemic has affected the mental health of many employees, so it’s more important than ever that employers find ways to create inclusive and connected workplace environments where people feel supported.

“If employees still feel that they are unable or unwilling to talk in confidence to their employer, then as a duty of care, the employer should consider reaching out with details of professional organisations to support employees.

“In addition, looking out for signs of loneliness, unhappiness or being disengaged from work could also be a trigger for engaging in meaningful conversations and offer targeted mental health support.”