Employer Bias Against Mental Health Conditions Rife

mental health and employmentA study of employer attitudes towards staff with mental health conditions has revealed that 94 percent of UK leaders admit that prejudice towards sufferers remains an issue within their organisation.

The research, which was carried out by Bupa also found that a third of business leaders think that employees with mental health illnesses will fail to return to full productivity even after treatment. Sadly, these same leaders admitted to labelling such employees as unpredictable, weak and erratic.

Despite the fact that 53 percent of employees managing mental health problems feel that they are still top performers, a fifth of them said that they have felt pressure to resign and more than 50 percent believe that their illness has harmed their chances of getting a promotion.

Furthermore, despite the fact that 80 percent of employers claim to have a culture that encourages people to openly discuss mental health, 70 percent of employees said that they don’t feel comfortable talking about such issues or concerns.

Corporate Director of Bupa, Patrick Watt, commented:

“Despite business leaders recognising the importance of addressing mental health at work, there is still a long way to go to break down the wall of silence and create genuine change. Businesses must take immediate action. Managers need to be trained to spot the signs and know how to support employees to get the right help.”

Mr Watt went on to explain that so much great talent is being lost through a lack of understanding when in reality, it’s perfectly possible for employees to return to work after a mental illness and not only perform, but excel in their roles. In order for attitudes to change, Watt said that business leaders should be tackling the stigma around mental health, eliminating practices or cultural habits that cause stress and encouraging people to speak up and to seek help without fear or consequence.

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