Mental Health in the Workplace

“Three out of five employees have experienced mental health issues in the past year because of work.”

In an age where more and more people are coming forward to openly discuss mental health issues and put them firmly in the media spotlight, the Mental Health at Work Report 2017 makes for some very interesting reading. It concludes that business is waking up to the scale of poor mental health in the workplace, but that there is still a long way to go.


After surveying 3000 workers across the UK, the Report found that:

  1. Three out of every five employees have experienced mental health issues due to work or where work was a related factor;
  2. Almost one in three employees reported having been formally diagnosed with a mental health issue;
  3. Just over half of employees feel comfortable talking about mental health issues like depression and anxiety at work; and
  4. Only a third of 18 to 29 year olds are comfortable talking with their manager about mental health issues compared to almost half of people in their 40s.

The Report also shows a disparity between how business managers view workplace mental health and how employees feel about this. Whilst 91% of managers agree that what they do affects the wellbeing of their staff, and 84% of managers accept that employee wellbeing is their responsibility, only 58% of employees feel that their line manager is genuinely concerned about their wellbeing. Further, in 15% of cases where the employee disclosed a mental health issue to a line manager the employee became subject to disciplinary procedures, dismissal or demotion. The report highlights the need for training line managers in mental health. Less than a quarter of managers had received training in mental health and 49% of line managers would welcome some specific basic training in mental health.

Calls to Action for Employers: TALK; TRAIN; TAKE ACTION:

If you have particular concerns in this tricky area, you may wish to sign up to Mind's Workplace Wellbeing Index which will help you find out where your business is doing well and where you could improve your approach to mental health in the workplace.

You should also review whether your HR policies, such as capability and absence, contain reference to mental health and how your organisation supports this. You should consider whether managers would benefit from any specific training on dealing with mental health in the workplace. The report finds that line managers play a key role in fostering an open culture where employees feel able to share concerns about mental health.

Further Guidance

Acas have also published a new guidance booklet on Promoting Positive Mental Health in the Workplace. This gives helpful tips on changing your workplace to promote positive mental health and where to go when further guidance and support are necessary.

They have also published two smaller online guides:

The Stevenson/Farmer review, Thriving At Work, contains 40 recommendations on how employers can better support the mental health of employees, including those with mental health problems or poor well-being.

They include:

  • all employers should adopt certain mental health core standards, set out in the report;
  • public sector, and private sector employers with over 500 employees, should take additional steps, again set out in the report;
  • employers should be encouraged by legislation to report publicly on their workforce's mental health;
  • professional bodies should implement training and support measures for their employer members.

If you would like more information about mental health in the work place and how it could affect your business please get in touch on 01626 563101.