More than half of UK workers do not have access to mental health support at work, a new survey has revealed.
Despite one in six workers suffering from a mental health condition and a rise of reported incidents of mental illness in employees, the poll found that 55.7% of people working in UK businesses don’t have access to mental health support, or even know if their business has policies to support workers with mental illness.
Earlier this month, HSE Network asked a cross-section of more than 1500 workers from various sectors and job roles, across the UK if their workplace had policies for helping staff with mental health. Just 45% said yes, a fifth (21%) said no and 34% said they didn't know.
Commenting on the survey results, HSE Network founder Paul Clarke said he sees the problem as a misunderstanding at a fundamental level.
'People who don’t suffer with a mental health problem themselves, don’t always recognise or address it. There is real misunderstanding with mental health. If you have someone with an addiction problem with [alcohol] for example, they can’t just put the drink down. It’s an illness. We don’t have the people in positions of power, from the government level and in certain businesses, who share the right understanding of mental health and mental illness.'
Paul said there is an urgency to address mental health policies in businesses with the added pressures of working during the COVID-19 pandemic. 'Mental health problems are triggered or compounded by remoteness and uncertainty.' Due to this, he believes, mental health impacts in employment are expected to rise.
'There is unhappiness, anxiety, uncertainty and we are often driven by the wrong values, obsessed with status. We need a shift in consciousness and a shift in culture to see a real change to reduce fear, anxiety and stress.'