Almost half of young women don’t trust their employer with their mental health

Onebright, the UK’s largest pure play provider of mental healthcare, has released the results of an exclusive survey showing that almost one in two women do not trust their employer when it comes to discussing their mental wellbeing.

A large proportion of women (40 per cent) feel uncomfortable discussing their mental health with their employer, with three in ten women (31 per cent) saying they would leave their job and go to another role if a competing company provided better mental health support to its workers.

This mistrust and desire for better mental health support was shown to be most prevalent amongst younger generations with almost four in ten (39 per cent) of employees between the ages of 18 and 39 more likely to leave their job for an employer that provides better mental health support, compared to 26 per cent of employees aged 30-44.

There is clearly scope for businesses to better support their employee’s mental health and wellbeing, to reduce the stigma associated with mental ill health, and to create a safe environment for people to talk openly about their health. Providing good mental health support for all employees is shown to improve work performance as reduce presenteeism and absenteeism.

With a clear desire and need for greater mental health support, many large companies already say they are doing more than ever to look after their employees and feel they are creating a healthy working environment. Indeed, six in ten employers (61 per cent) say their organisation has increased measures to support employee mental health requirements during the past year, after seeing an increase in mental health concerns during the pandemic.

Further to this, over two thirds (67 per cent) of employers say they provide access to professional support provided by a specialist mental healthcare company and 66 per cent provide training or coaching on mental healthcare. Whilst just over half (51 per cent) provide insurance to cover any personal mental health support required.

There is clearly a disconnect between the support employers say they are providing and what employees understand is available to them and feel comfortable using.

Explaining what businesses can do to support women’s mental health, Clare Price, Head of Psychological Services at Onebright, said:

“Employers can play a key role in supporting the early identification of anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions and improving access to care. It’s an investment well worth making. Reducing the stigma surrounding mental health conditions and training managers and the workforce on how to start a conversation if they are concerned about an employee is a great first step.

“Further to this it is worth including content about mental health in company newsletters, on any internal intranet and in other employee communications. If left untreated, mental ill health may have a significant impact on organisational outcomes. It may also adversely impact multiple areas of employee performance, including focus and decision making, time management, completing physical tasks, social interactions, and communication. Like most physical health conditions, early detection and effective treatment lessen the severity and impact of the returning quality of life.

“It is also important employers remember that not every employee will feel comfortable speaking about their problems internally – whether that be with their HR team, an internally recognised mental health champion, a first aider or a line manager. Employers should work hard to reduce stigma and build a trusting environment but signposting to options is also very important for people who aren’t comfortable opening up to their colleagues or in the workplace.”

 

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