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Louise Aston
Wellbeing Director
Louise Aston

How you can help end the culture of silence on mental health at work

Authors: Louise Aston

22 June 2016

Mental wellbeing at work is increasingly a hot topic. We know that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime, whilst one in six employees will be suffering from a mental health condition at any one time. With stress accounting for 43% of all working days lost due to ill health and for 34% of all work related ill health cases, employees’ mental wellbeing can have a significant impact on productivity – and on organisations’ bottom lines.

However, there is still a stigma surrounding mental health at work, with many people feeling reluctant to discuss it due to fear of being judged or treated differently. A huge 95% of employees who experienced workplace stress cited a different reason for their absence, whilst only a third of employees have received any support to manage workplace stress.

Given how common mental health issues are in society and in the workplace, it is vital that employees feel comfortable to talk about the issue with their line manager, and that line managers have a core understanding of the topic and feel able to act confidently as the first point of support for their team. That’s why Business in the Community is undertaking the National Employee Mental Wellbeing Survey, the UK’s biggest ever survey of mental wellbeing at work. 

The survey aims to gain a complete snapshot of the mental wellbeing of the UK workforce through listening to employees’ experiences of mental wellbeing at work, what employers are doing and what employees think needs to change. Business in the Community will use the findings to work with employers and help improve employee mental wellbeing.
Over 7,500 people have shared their experiences so far – now we need you to help us triple that by adding your voice to theirs.

There is an endemic culture of silence surrounding mental health in the workplace, but this has to change if we are going to make talking about it ‘business as usual’ and put discussing mental health on a par with discussing physical health with your colleagues or manager. But we can’t do it without you. By sharing your experiences, you can help us and employers across the country to identify good practice and create workplaces that work for everyone.

The free and confidential survey is open to all employees working in every sector and at every level, and will run until 29th July 2016. To take part please visit the website: http://www.yougov.com/BITC-WF