Monday 20 February 2017 7:00 am

Fewer than 1 in 10 UK employees would discuss mental health with a manager

Less than 10 per cent of employees who have experienced mental health issues feel able to talk to their manager or supervisor about it, according to research released today by Legal and General.

The survey of 2,000 full-time employees and 200 managing directors or HR managers found that 40 per cent of employees had experienced depression, while 22 per cent were dealing with anger and 25 per cent with unacceptably high levels of pressure.

The majority of employees experiencing these issues felt unable to discuss the problem with a superior, even though nearly four in five employers believed employees were comfortable talking about mental health with company representatives.

Legal and General's findings join a range of voices calling for improvement in the way employers approach mental health in the workplace.

Lord Mayor Dr Andrew Parmley set out a City-wide initiative to tackle te stigma around mental health earlier this month, shortly after Prime Minister Theresa May called for employers to do more about mental health in early February, arguing that employee wellbeing drives productivity.

Many of the surveyed employees were happy to discuss their mental health with a partner, their parents, or a friend. But only 4 per cent of depression sufferers and 5 per cent of anxiety sufferers believed they could speak with their managers about the issue.

At least 20 per cent of employees did not feel able to speak to anyone at all about their concerns.

Martin Noone, managing director of Legal and General Workplace Health and Protection, said of the new findings: “Our research demonstrates there is much more work to do to change the perception of mental health and the stigma attached to it. It seems that the workplace has, in the main, become a place for ‘suffering in silence’.”

“With one in four people experiencing a mental health problem each year, it’s time for employers to work on their approach and start creating workplaces that are mentally healthy.”