But employers are making ‘great strides’ in tackling stress

More than one in four (26 per cent) of employees who describe their mental health as poor say work is the primary cause, according to a wide-ranging survey from mental health charity Mind.

The study of more than 15,000 employees found that 12 per cent suffered from poor mental health – and it laid bare some significant discrepancies in how well managers feel they support staff and the experiences of employees themselves. Overall, however, the charity praised employers for making progress in tackling the causes of mental ill-health.

Only 54 per cent of respondents felt that their line manager supported their mental health, but almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of managers said they would feel confident supporting an employee experiencing a mental health problem.

The survey – which interviewed staff in organisations such Royal Bank of Canada, Jaguar Land Rover, Deloitte and PepsiCo – also identified problems with employees feeling able to openly talk about their mental health at work. Just 26 per cent said they would be likely to seek support if they were experiencing a mental health issue.

Of the 2,200 individuals who were experiencing poor mental health at work, just over half (53 per cent) said they felt supported, while 72 per cent said they had been made aware of support tools such as employee assistance programmes, counselling, staff support networks or informal buddying systems. Just over half (56 per cent) were offered reasonable adjustments or support measures, such as changes to hours worked or the nature of some of their workplace duties.

Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, said the charity had noticed employers taking “great strides when it comes to tackling stress and supporting the mental wellbeing of their staff” over the last few years. She added that forward-thinking employers were making mental health a priority: “We’ve seen good practice right across the board, from each and every one of the 30 pioneering employers to take part.”

Mind announced the survey to coincide with the launch of a new Workplace Wellbeing Index that aims to benchmark policy and practice in supporting employee wellbeing.

In February, a separate survey from Legal & General found that fewer than one in 10 employees felt comfortable talking to their managers about their mental health problems. It said 22 per cent of staff reported anger issues and 25 per cent felt they were being put under unacceptably high levels of pressure at work.