Dave Capper Westfield HealthNearly a third (30%) of employees feel unsure about who to talk to or where to find help or support regarding metal health issues. In addition, nearly 40% find it hard to talk to or open up about their mental health to anyone, according to new research released today.

The findings, from the ‘Mental Resilience’ survey of nearly 2,000 working adults across the country, conducted by health insurer Westfield Health, have been released to mark Time to Talk Day (4 February).

The survey also found that a significant minority experienced stigma; 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 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 anti-stigma campaign Time to Change, and aims to help end the misconceptions around mental health by breaking the silence around it and getting the nation talking.

Westfield Health’s executive director, Dave Capper, 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.”