Workplace Mental Health: 14.1% of UK workers consider themselves to have a mental health problem

Workplace Mental Health UK workers consider themselves to have a mental health problem

Mental health issues are the number one cause of sickness absence in the UK. Around half of all long-term sick leave in the UK is due to stress, depression and anxiety. Even more alarming is that 95% of employees who call in sick with stress give a different reason. Many employers remain unsure how they can provide the proper mental health support to employees with mental health issues and are collectively losing billions as a result. 

According to the latest ONS figures, the number of job vacancies within the UK reached a new record of 1.2 million between October and December in 2021, 462,000 more than pre-pandemic levels. This exodus, commonly referred to as ‘The Great Resignation’, is thought to be, in part, the result of the increased mental and psychological strain caused by the pandemic, with research revealing a rise in social issues, particularly stress, amongst employees in all sectors over the last two years.

Researchers found mental illnesses like depression, stress and anxiety to be just as debilitating as some physical medical diseases like arthritis. Part of this incorrect assumption regarding mental illness is that a person can appear to be managing from the outside. 

Having a mental illness is often invisible, especially when a person is dealing with high-functioning types of mental illness, like anxiety or certain types of depression. Symptoms can be very subtle, and it can be almost impossible to spot the signposts without mental health awareness training. In fact, among the nine different types of depression a person can be diagnosed with, high-functioning depression may be the most elusive. For a particular group of people, this often debilitating mood disorder can be suppressed enough for them to carry out daily responsibilities.

It is crucial to create an environment that promotes mental well-being and provides resources and benefits for employees with such illnesses.

Employers do have a ‘duty of care’ to their employees. This means they must do all they reasonably can to support their employees’ health, safety and wellbeing. This includes:

  • making sure the working environment is safe
  • protecting staff from discrimination 
  • carrying out risk assessments


More often than not, organisations actively working towards making their employees feel safe, valued and fulfilled in their roles are more creative, energised, and have higher productivity. Yet, the latest statistics show that organisations still have a long way to go to reduce the mental health stigma and training managers in supporting their teams; instead, reports of burnout have more than doubled since this time last year, and a staggering 70 million workdays are being lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion per year. 

Whether this is the case for the people you employ, you can implement many things to improve mental health in the workplace for the 14.1% of Britons living with mental illness:

  1. View any investment in workplace mental health as a necessary investment in your business. All organisations must understand that there is a business case for investing in employee mental health and making it a priority. According to the World Health Organisation, every dollar invested in mental health training returns US$4 in improved health and productivity.
  2. Create a culture of openness about workplace pressures. Onebright provides mental health training designed specifically for employers and managers in any industry and provides insights and understanding into how to understand, support and promote the mental health of each workplace.
  3. Take steps to support diverse employee groups. As part of the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, consider taking steps to encourage or sponsor events that employees are interested in, helping them connect with others and find spaces to discuss important issues regarding mental health.


Onebright is building a new way to deliver mental healthcare for employees and their dependents worldwide – investing in clinical expertise and technology solutions to deliver a complete mental healthcare service at scale. Talk to us today about creating a brighter workplace with respect and acknowledgement of every employees’ mental health needs.  


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