A survey commissioned by mental health app Wysa has revealed that the UK mental health crisis is ‘significantly worse amongst working people than general population estimates.’
Results show that working people of all ages are experiencing mental health issues, and many are not accessing or using professional support.
Over one in three (35 per cent) working people have moderate to severe depression or severe anxiety, which is three times higher than the estimated UK adult prevalence.
Ross O’Brien, Managing Director UK, Wysa said: “Currently the burden falls on the National Health Service to solve the mental health crisis. But we can see that employees are struggling more than the average population. We owe it to our workforce to find a different solution to addressing mental health problems.”
Employees worry they will not be taken seriously
However, UK employees are not seeking help. Wysa revealed that the main reasons for this are people not believing it is serious enough, feeling too embarrassed to ask, or not having the time to seek help. Other reasons included feeling worried about not being taken seriously or having previously sought help and not getting the help they wanted.
Also, workers are not comfortable disclosing mental health conditions in the workplace or taking time off for stress or mental health reasons. The survey showed that when respondents were asked to complete the sentence: ‘In the past, when my mental state or stress levels were impacting my ability to work, I have...’, only 13 per cent of men and 13 per cent of women said they have ‘taken time off as sick, using stress or mental health as the reason’.
Other answers included:
- ‘Taken time off as sick, using physical illness as the reason (26 per cent male, 25 per cent female)
- ‘Taken time off as vacation time using paid time off (26 per cent male, 17 per cent female)
- ‘Gone to work regardless’ (43 per cent male, 53 per cent female)
- None of the above (16 per cent male, 11 per cent female).
Therefore, the majority of respondents either not take time off for mental health concerns or would not making their employer aware of their issue.
Who to tell
When respondents were asked who they would like to talk to about their mental health, UK employees were more likely to select a mental health app than a therapist or someone in their workplace. Half of all workers aged between 16 and 24 would prefer to go to an app than an in-person doctor.
Nicky Main, UK and Europe clinical lead, Wysa said: “The fact that some people would rather speak to an app than HR demonstrates the need for a supportive and structured approach to mental health in the workplace.
“We know employers and businesses are talking about mental health, but people still aren’t feeling comfortable enough voicing their needs. It’s time we really do make mental health on par with physical health in our workplace.”
It is not just workers who prefer to reach out to technology for help with their mental health conditions, many expats are turning to the internet to self-diagnose.