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Mental Health stigma continues in employment

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Despite repeated campaigns highlighting mental health discrimination, a survey from the Department of Health has revealed that a large proportion of the UK believes the problem is still blighting the nation’s workforce.

Published in conjunction with charity Rethink, the survey shows that over 50% of British workers say they would feel uncomfortable talking to line managers, or employers, if they had a mental health problem for fear of being labelled “mad”.

Those suffering from conditions such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, claim they are scared of being marginalised by their fellow colleagues once ousted, while 17% felt they would be overlooked for promotions if they revealed their health problems.

“These statistics confirm what our members tell us. Even when employers have mental health policies in place, line managers often feel ill-equipped to deal with mental health issues among staff,” Antonia Borneo, Rethink’s Policy Manager commented.

“However, line managers have a huge role to play in tackling workplace stigma and helping people with mental illness to remain in work. We know the practical steps that can help people affected by mental illness to continue working and want to share this knowledge with employers so that all employees feel comfortable asking their manager for help.”

More than half of respondents, 51%, expressed the belief that mental health sufferers are exposed to “a lot” of discrimination, while 15% said behaviour of this kind has increased in recent years.

This compares with the 69% who admitted they are at ease with telling family and friends.

In an attempt to quell the seemingly continuing culture of discrimination, the Department of Health has announced that six government departments will sign an agreement with Employers for Carers on how they will work in partnership developing and promoting the support of patient carers in the workplace.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

April 5, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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