A new survey has revealed the state of workplace mental health in the UK, particularly amongst young workers aged 18-30, and has found that 45% of young workers don’t feel they can express their mental health problems.
Furthermore, 48% of workers aged 18-30 have experienced suicidal thoughts. This statistic is particularly shocking, especially when coupled with the knowledge that young people are struggling to talk about poor mental health in general, as early intervention could prevent someone’s negative thinking patterns progressing to suicidal thoughts or ideation.
The survey of over 2,000 working people, conducted by Accenture for workplace mental health conference This Can Happen, shows that discussing mental wellbeing still feels taboo for many employees.
Amongst the other findings:
- 85% of workers have a close friend, family member or colleague who has experienced mental health issues.
- 76% of workers said mental health problems – their own, or those of someone close to them – had affected their ability to enjoy life.
The survey revealed that, despite the growing awareness of mental health as an issue for employers, the culture for discussing and supporting wellbeing had not necessarily changed in recent years.
- 27% said employees in their workplace spoke more openly about mental health than in the past.
- 20% had seen more workplace training offered to help them self-manage mental health issues.
This begs the question: what are employers not understanding about their professional and ethical responsibilities towards the workforce?
With work making up such an important part of our lives and our routines, the mental health policies and attitudes of employers can make a real difference to our wellbeing.
However, there were some positive statistics from the survey, particularly around supportive workplaces:
- 81% of those who discussed their mental health problem at work had a positive reaction, such as empathy or kindness, to speaking out.
- 31% of those who spoke out about their mental health problem at work said it helped them move towards getting help.
If you’re worried about discussing a mental health issue in the workplace, take a look at our blog post for advice.
Whatever kind of mental health problem you are facing, it’s important to reach out to somebody. Whilst not all workplaces will offer you the kind of support you need, please don’t suffer in silence. Talk to someone you trust – a relative, a friend, a neighbour or your GP, and take the first steps to dealing with the problem. If your concerns are dismissed, try again with another person you trust. It does not mean your problem isn’t valid.
Getting professional talking therapy will help draw out the issues at hand, in a safe and supportive environment. In your initial consultation, a psychologist will work with you to understand the mental health struggles you are facing, and they can recommend the best therapeutic approach – this could include popular treatments like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Solution-Focused Therapy (a fantastic option for anyone short on time).
Written by guest contributor Vikram Das for Dr Chrissie Tizzard, Chartered Consultant Psychologist, PsychD, BSc, MSc, C.Psychol, C.Sci, AFBPS. Dr Tizzard is the Clinical Director of Christine Tizzard Psychology (ctpsy.co.uk).