New evidence presented by Mind, suggests that workers who admit to feeling stressed or depressed fear being sacked or forced out of their jobs.
Research for Mind’s Taking care of business campaign found that at present, work is the most stressful thing in people’s lives, but 1 in 5 people believe that if they mentioned their stress levels they would be put first in line for redundancy. Shockingly, the charity also found that workers’ fears weren’t unfounded, with 22% of those who had disclosed a mental health problem in a previous job saying they had been fired or forced to quit .
Each year, millions of workers experience stress, depression and anxiety but Mind is concerned that unaddressed mental health issues are reaching fever pitch as hard-pressed businesses pass on the strain to workers. Budget cuts and job losses have radically impacted on our mental health with the most stressful aspects of today’s workplace being excessive workload, unrealistic targets, the threat of redundancy and frustration with poor management. However, despite the huge increases in pressure, staff are reluctant to speak up for fear they will be perceived as ‘weak’ or ‘less capable’ than colleagues – and shortlisted for job cuts.
The figures confirm that despite the widespread prevalence of mental health problems, stigma and discrimination are so rife that mental health has become an elephant in the room. Every year British businesses lose Ã‚Â£26 billion in sickness absence and lost productivity, or Ã‚Â£1035 per employee. However, with greater awareness and mental health support, businesses could save one third of these costs – a mammoth Ã‚Â£8 billion a year
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind said:
“The negativity that persists around stress and mental health problems is unacceptable in a modern workforce. Pressure and stress may be part of our working lives, but failing to recognise that everyone has a limit is a mistake that costs businesses billions of pounds a year. Stigma is so great employees worry that even mentioning stress will lose them their jobs. Mental health problems exist in every workforce, but at the moment it exists as a costly and unaddressed elephant in the room.
“Right now, 1 in 6 workers have a mental health issue such as stress, depression or anxiety, and workers are under more pressure than ever before as staff numbers decrease, work increases, and people worry if they’ll even have a job to go to tomorrow. Rather than shying away from the issue, it’s more important than ever that businesses invest in staff wellbeing and encourage an open culture, where staff can come forward about the pressures they are feeling and be supported.
“Making your workplace more mentally healthy doesn’t need to cost the earth. Simple, practical changes