Research conducted by UK mental health charities reveals that 27 per cent of full-time employees find work the best space to speak about their mental health.
Mind, Co-op, Rethink Mental Illness, See Me with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health), Inspire, Change your Mind and Time to Change Wales polled over 5,000 people.
Full-time employees have said work is where they can talk most about mental health – higher than local cafes (21 per cent), the pub (17 per cent), the gym (17 per cent) or the library (nine per cent). Despite the increase in hybrid and remote working, the value of talking to a colleague is seen by employees to benefit their mental health.
The survey also revealed that 65 per cent of retirees never make space to speak about mental health, compared to 26 per cent of full-time employees and 31 per cent of part-time employees.
Also, people in full-time employment are more likely to view conversations about mental health as important (82 per cent), compared to the general population (77 per cent).
Mental health focus
Time to Talk Day 2023 is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness in England, See Me with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) in Scotland, Inspire and Change Your Mind in Northern Ireland, and Time to Change Wales. It is being delivered in partnership with Co-op as part of a shared ambition to reach those who wouldn’t usually engage with mental health support.
The cost of poor mental health to UK employers has been estimated at between £53 billion and £56 billion, according to the Mental Health and Employers Report published in 2022 by Deloitte, with presenteeism – the cost of not performing at our best due to ill health – making up the majority of this significant cost.
Nick Speight, Co-op People Director, said: “With the cost of living crisis, and ongoing impacts from the pandemic, it’s never been more important for us to be able to talk about how we’re feeling.
“Our research shows one in four find work the best space to help them to speak about mental health, highlighting the vital role of employers supporting their colleagues, and getting behind activity like Time to Talk Day to help kick-start conversations.”
Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive of Mind, concluded: “It’s vital we make space in the day for a conversation about mental health.
“We know that talking about it and listening to others about their experiences can help us feel less alone, more able to cope and encouraged to seek support if we need to.”
With one in three employees reporting significant mental health conditions, being comfortable to open dialogue in the workplace is vital.