Nearly half of employees with mental health issues have felt suicidal at work


Nearly half of employees with mental health issues have felt suicidal at work:

A new study carried out by the Mental Health Foundation, Oxford Economics and Unum, has established that nearly half (49%) of all employees who have experienced mental health issues in the last five years have attended work whilst experiencing suicidal thoughts.

This research also found that 4 in 10 (39%) of line managers who had no history of mental health issues had reported feeling distress at work.  A further 5% of line managers who had no history of mental health issues said they had gone to work whilst having suicidal thoughts/feelings.

In the past 5 years 45% of people researched who had experienced mental health issues had not disclosed this to their employer.  There were 3 areas identified in the study these being, a fear of being discriminated by their colleagues, embarrassment of their medical condition or the feeling that it is none of their employers business.

However, 34% of people researched who had been diagnosed with a mental health issue in the past 5 years who had declared their condition to their employer felt well supported by their line managers although only 10% of line mangers actually felt they had sufficient training to deal with mental health issues in the workplace according to those surveyed for the report, Added Value: Mental Health as a workplace asset.

Healthwork Advice and Discussion:

Employers across all sectors are becoming increasingly sensitive to mental health issues in the workplace. When an employee divulges mental health problems the employer can refer for occupational health advice on fitness for work and appropriate support measures. When the issue is “silent”, and as suggested by the above and similar surveys there is a sizeable proportion of employees with undeclared mental health problems, then how is the employer to carry out its duty of care and properly support its employees?

This is a topical and challenging dilemma for all employers.

Healthwork has recognised the need for employers to receive training in mental health awareness and has responded accordingly. We run courses for line managers that give them the skills and confidence to detect and support employees with mental health problems, including those that may be expressing ideas about self-harm. We assist employers in promoting mental health awareness campaigns to encourage reporting of psychological problems, and through education to dispel the stigma attached to mental health illness.

Additionally, our occupational health services are bolstered by provisions for early intervention counselling treatment and psychiatric assessments where required.

If you would like further details on how Healthwork could assist you in this area, visit our website or alternatively contact us on 0161 831 9701.