Anew survey has revealed that employees are still much more likely to lie about their reasons for needing time off work if their absence is caused by mental health issues rather than physical ailments.
The survey, which was carried out by OnePoll found that 77% of workers would have no problem telling the truth to their manager about physical ailments such as back pain, flu or an accidental injury.
When it comes to mental health problems however, it’s a completely different story. In this incidence, only 39% people said that they would tell the truth if they were suffering from anxiety or depression. Mental health charities are blaming the lack of understanding amongst employers about the serious nature of depression.
The reluctance to be honest about mental health conditions was found to be even more pronounced among those who work for smaller companies. In businesses with fewer than 250 employees, only 37% said they would reveal the real reason for calling in sick if they had a mental health issue.
The CEO of Depression Alliance, Emer O’Neill commented:
“It’s disappointing that so many employers still have a low awareness of the true impact of depression on their employees’ day to day life. We know that depression and anxiety are amongst the biggest causes of workplace absenteeism in the UK, yet this lack of understanding continues to create a culture of fear that makes it so hard for employees to be open and honest.”
Emer continued to emphasise that improving awareness and support for people and businesses is crucial. He said that often employers don’t even know where to start so he recommends educating managers and all employees on what depression looks like, how to identify the symptoms and how to support staff with any illnesses they may have.
If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering with depression, please feel free to contact our Depression and Anxiety Treatment Programmes page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments available.