Worrying workplace attitudes to mental health uncovered

A recent survey into the attitudes towards mental health has uncovered some terrifying results.

Almost seven in ten bosses don’t consider depression, anxiety, or stress to be justified means of time off work.

The survey was carried out by AXA PPP Healthcare, and found that 69% of bosses don’t think that these very common mental health conditions necessitate a sick day.

Somewhat hypocritically, one in five said that they would still worry about the employee’s ability to do their job and one in six feared that the mental health of the employee could have a negative impact on their own reputation as a manager.

Conversely, only 39% of workers said that they would tell the truth about why they needed time off if they were to take a sick day for stress, depression or anxiety.

23% of those who said they would lie said that they were afraid of being judged.

This survey highlights the ongoing issue of stigmatised mental health in the western world. Even though there are movements in certain workplaces towards mindfulness training and acceptance for their staff, many places are still in the dark ages in regards to mental health.

61% of people said they would lie about their mental illness if they suffered and had to take time out. If they needed time off for a broken leg or for flu, we can safely assume that this figure would be much, much lower, and likely even 0%.

However, over half of employers said that they have seen a difference in their industry regarding mental health and the attitudes towards it in the workplace.

The Head of Workplace Wellbeing at the mental health charity Mind, Emma Mamo, said: “This survey data is hugely worrying but unfortunately not surprising, as it echoes our own research. We know that there is still a taboo around talking about issues like stress, anxiety and depression at work.

“Yet we all have mental health, just as we all have physical health, and people can experience a mental health problem no matter what role they are doing.”

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