Brits diagnosed with a mental health condition to embarrassed to talk at work

Research reveals a quarter of Brits who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition aren’t open about it in the workplace because they’re embarrassed.

Research reveals that a sizeable proportion of employees diagnosed with or treated for a mental health related condition feel they are treated differently by their manager (27 per cent) or by colleagues (22 per cent) compared with those who have a physical or visible illness.

According to the study by AXA PPP healthcare, over a third of employees living with a mental health condition (39 per cent) are not open about their illness in their workplace. The top reasons for this include being afraid they would be judged by their colleagues (30 per cent) or by their manager (24 per cent) and being afraid it would harm their career prospects (22 per cent). Over a quarter (29 per cent) say it’s because they are embarrassed about their condition.

The research also reveals that nearly half of employees (45 per cent) say they would be more comfortable talking to their employer about their physical health than about their mental health.

Dr Mark Winwood, director of psychological services at AXA PPP healthcare, comments, ‘Employers have a responsibility to create a work environment where employees feel able to be open and honest with their manager.

‘Equally, managers need to feel confident to have a conversation with their employees about how they are and whether they need any support. This confidence can be helped through training and support from their employer.’

Winwood adds, ‘A manager asking simply ‘How are you feeling today?’ shows they care. It is also essential that managers can reassure employees that it’s okay not to feel okay and they should feel able to let the employee know about support available to them in the workplace and how to access it. For example, the manager could suggest the employee seeks professional help or uses support such as an employee assistance programme that their employer may offer.’

Further reading on mental health problems

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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