Employers and Mental Health
Let’s start with some statistics:
- More than two thirds of senior managers and owners of businesses don’t believe that stress, anxiety or depression are sufficiently serious for employees to need time off work.
- Only 1 in 5 managers would worry about an employee’s ability to do their job if they had a mental health problem.
- 1 in 6 managers were concerned said they would be concerned about how an employee’s mental health problem might reflect on their management style.
- Only 39% of employees said they would tell the truth if they took sick leave because of stress. The reasons for this were fear of being judged (23%), and that they would not be believed (15%).
Source of above stats: AXA PPP Healthcare Survey of 1000 employers and employees.
- Half of all employees say that they have never been asked about stress, depression or anxiety in a 1-1 with their manager.
- 76% of business leaders believe that they actively encourage their manager’s to support employees’ mental health. 80% claim to have measures in place to do this.
- Less than a third of employees with a mental health condition agreed that their employers were doing enough to support them.
Source of Above Stats: BUPA survey of 50 businesses and 500 employees.
The above statistics are somewhat ironic given that the Department of Health figures state that they are concerned about 70 million working days lost due to mental illness with a cost to the economy of £70-£100 billion.
The urging of the Chief Medical Officer was that commissioners and decision makers should treat mental health more like physical health. I would take this one step further and state that people generally should try to do this.
I quite often say to my clients – “What would you do if you had a broken leg?” I get the predictable answers of x-ray, plaster, physio, rest, and exercise. What I never get is any kind of embarrassment or stigma attached to things. When I then take this question one step further and say – ‘why is your depression/stress/anxiety any different then?’ The answer is much less quantifiable. I guess the reason why is in the above statistics.
How helpful is this though?
If managers were able and confident enough to create a supportive environment where mental health could be discussed without stigma and judgment would this then make employees more able to take support that might be on offer?
If support were on offer would this enable managers to be more confident knowing that they had help and resource available for their employees?
I would support the view that the answers to the above questions are YES!!!
Support can be obtained quite easily whatever your position.
If you are an individual:
- Go to your doctor – counselling help and support can be obtained via the NHS.
This will enable you to access private support.
- Talk to your employer to see what support may be available through them.
- Search on your issue online to identify any free charitable support that may be available.
If you are a company/manager:
- Does your company already have support set up for individuals that you can offer to your employee?
- If not you can access websites such as
The above websites have searchable databases where you can identify counsellors in your area that may be able to offer support to your employee. This is ideal for single site employers who can identify resource in their ‘catchment area’ for employees and set up good working relationships. For employers with more sites/revenue then many companies are in existence that offers help to setting up these resources.
Karen Cherrington Counselling Services offers help to many companies both via third party intermediaries and also direct to employers and employees.