Half of workers say disclosing a mental health issue to their boss will ruin their career

The UK's mental health crisis back in the spotlight as a new poll of 2,000 workers revealed that half feel disclosing a mental health issue to their boss would destroy their career

by Patrick Sullivan, Political Editor on 20 December 2019 08:33

Nearly half of UK workers say that disclosing a mental health issue to their employer will destroy their career, according to a major new survey. The poll of 2,000 workers in fulltime employment in professional roles was commissioned by Vita Health Group, a leading UK provider of mental health solutions and will raise fresh fears about the stigma many attached to mental health issues in the workforce.

In total, 42% of workers said that revealing a mental health issue would ‘destroy’ their career and prevent them from receiving a pay rise. Workers also expressed deep concern around their employer’s lack of mental health expertise and experience.

In total, 4 in ten employees said they their HR team ‘lacks the skills and training to properly support my mental health issues’. Breaking down the data, young professionals in the age brackets between 24-34 were most concerned, with over 51 per cent saying they felt their HR team did not posses the skills to help them. When asked to rank the support measures an employer could put in place to help them, over half of workers (52 per cent) selected having a “monthly one-to-one time to chat about my issues” as their number one preference.

The next most popular choice was providing more mental health advice in company meetings, followed by online support services for staff. Derrick Farrell, CEO at Vita Health Group comments: “It’s shocking but not completely surprising that such a high proportion of workers feel that disclosing important information about their mental health challenges will ruin their career and prevent them getting a promotion.

Nobody - whatever their age or level of seniority - should ever have to live in fear of bosses knowing these vital details, leaving them without the support they need. It’s critical that employers do more to ensure the stigma associated with mental health issues are significantly reduced This means addressing these needs from the leadership down, ensuring managers have mandatory mental health training and recognise the warning signs of vulnerable employees and have clear pathways of support for those who need it.”

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