Time to Talk: Employees 'isolated and lost' when discussing mental health

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Time to Talk: Employees 'isolated and lost' when discussing mental health

Nearly a third (30%) of UK employees have reported that they feel unsure about who to talk to or where to find help or support regarding metal health issues.

The report conducted by Westfield Health found that nearly 40% said that they find it hard to talk to or open up about their mental health to anyone. 

The findings, from the ‘Mental Resilience' survey of nearly 2,000 working age adults, have been released to mark Time to Talk Day (4 February). On Time to Talk Day, Westfield Health is encouraging employees across the nation to talk, engage and support #timetotalk.

According to the research, 32% of employees feel they were treated differently by their line manager after returning to work following absence related to mental ill health, and 20% also felt their fellow colleagues' attitudes towards them had changed.

When asked how they were treated differently, responses included: "I felt that people were walking on egg shells around me which made me feel low and not want to speak to anyone" and "Due to the nature of my ill health colleagues were not sure how to approach me or what to say".

Time to Talk Day is part of the campaign Time to Change, and aims to help end the misconceptions around mental health by breaking the silence around it. 

Dave Capper, executive director at Westfield Health said "The research we've conducted provides an in-depth insight into employees' views about mental health at work.

"Employees reported not knowing who to talk to or where to turn, often feeling isolated and lost, and a quarter of those surveyed believed that admitting you have a mental health issue shows weakness.

"Furthermore, our research found that the emotionally fit appear to be out of step with those who've experienced a mental health issue, with respondents stating that colleagues didn't know how to broach the subject when they returned to work and regularly feeling like there was ‘an elephant in the room'.

"So while mental health is becoming much more talked about in general, it's clear that improvements still need to be made."

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