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Increased confidence in talking about mental health issues

Posted on 11th February, 2014

A new UK-wide survey suggests increased confidence among employees in being able to talk to their manager about mental health issues.

The survey carried out by MINDFUL EMPLOYER, an initiative run by Workways, a service of Devon Partnership NHS Trust, found that in organisations that had signed the Charter for Employers who are Positive About Mental Health, three in five employees had talked to their manager about a current mental health condition.

The survey, entitled Let’s Talk About Mental Health, also indicates that the most likely response to such disclosure is one where the manager listens, is supportive and is understanding – and not the negative response that is often feared.

“Workplaces are changing,” said Richard Frost, who leads MINDFUL EMPLOYER. “Our survey shows that it is becoming easier to talk about mental health at work compared with the past and that people are receiving the right support.”

The survey also found that the most common reason for not talking about mental ill health was the fear it would go against them, yet the least common response by the employer was disciplinary action. The survey also showed that employers can do more to increase awareness of their commitment to the Charter and would benefit from investing in training and liaising more closely with doctors and healthcare professionals.

Sent to 578 employers across the UK, the survey received 2,671 responses. Employees represented private, public and voluntary sector employers and worked for small, medium and large organisations.

MINDFUL EMPLOYER was launched in 2004 as a local initiative in Exeter and has now spread across the UK. The initiative has been featured and recommended in government reports and been launched in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. A special conference will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the initiative in October 2014.

For the full survey report visit: