Two-thirds of workers feel unsupported by managers over mental health issues as the City ramps up its efforts to improve

Rebecca Smith
The Lord Mayor will be one of thousands wearing a green ribbon to mark the initiative
The Lord Mayor will be one of thousands wearing a green ribbon to mark the initiative

More than 150 City firms spanning banks, professional services companies and law firms, are teaming up to try and change how mental health in the workplace is dealt with.

Thousands of staff in the City of London, and across the UK, will wear green ribbons as part of a campaign, inspired by PwC's Green Light to Talk initiative, and led by the Lord Mayor’s appeal, which also ties into Mental Health Awareness week.

Buildings across London, including the Bank of England, One Canada Square, the National Theatre and PwC’s Embankment headquarters, will be lit up in green throughout the week to show support.

Read more: Stress in the City: Half of UK workplaces report mental health problems

Dr Andrew Parmley, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said:

Mental health difficulties can affect any of us at any time and half of absences in non- manual work can be put down to stress. Employers have a responsibility to support their staff and encourage open conversations in a push to end the stigma of discussing mental health in the workplace.

It comes as the Conservatives have announced plans to replace the 1983 Mental Health Act as an early priority after the General Election. It would be replaced with new laws tackling discrimination against those with mental health problems. Theresa May’s party has also pledged 10,000 more NHS mental health staff by 2020.

New research of 2,000 adults from the organisers of Mental Health Awareness Week, the Mental Health Foundation and employee benefits provider Unum, has found that only a third of UK workers who have experienced a mental health problem have felt supported at work by their manager over it.

Half of line managers felt confident that they could recognise signs that a member of their team was having problems. The study found line managers “routinely overestimate” how well their workplace supports mental health, with 45 per cent of managers saying an employee experiencing a mental health issue would be supported to remain in work by making reasonable adjustments to their role.

That was in contrast to the opinion of workers who had experienced mental health problems, as under a fifth said they actually received such support.

Insurer Legal & General has also released new research showing just five per cent of employees who have experienced anxiety feel able to talk to their manager about it, while 78 per cent of employers think their staff are comfortable discussing such problems at work.

The FTSE 100 firm has launched its own campaign with a range of sporting personalities, including former footballer Clarke Carlisle and rugby union referee Nigel Owens.

It wants to encourage employees and employers alike to have more conversations on mental health, and make people think that "talking about mental health is not a red card offence".

Read more: Staff suffering mental health issues feel managers are not supportive

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