Mental Health Issues Masked by Faked Physical Illness

Mental Health Issues 2 WP

Almost a fifth of UK workers are calling in sick claiming physical illness to cover up ongoing mental health issues, a new report reveals.

The worrying statistic is also accompanied by several other findings on the mental health issues surrounding workers. Only 15% would openly tell their manager about any mental health issues they are experiencing. Additionally, the research conducted by BHSF indicates that over half (56%) of employees admitted to suffering from stress, a third (36%) from anxiety issues and a quarter (25%) from depression. When asked, a staggering 88% blamed much of their mental health issues as arising from their ongoing work situation. And worse still, statistics indicate that just 21% of workers receive dedicated mental health support from their employer.

Raising Awareness of Mental Health Issues at Work

Chief Medical Officer at BSHF, Dr Phillip McCrea, is said not to be surprised by the findings but should serve as a cause of concern from employers. “The scale of this problem is huge – and it is being massively underestimated by employers, with employees feeling that they have to mask the issues they are facing. Although shocking, these findings don’t surprise me – this report must provide a reality check for employers, who need to more proactive and focus on early intervention. A more open culture must be created in workplaces across the UK, and employers have to take responsibility for this change.”

Creating a Mentally Healthy Workplace

To help improve employee mental health, the BHSF’s report recommends several directions that employers can take, along with the key warning signs to look out for. The nine-step conclusion features tips and advice for helping to create a mentally healthy workplace. They include:

  • Leading from the top by setting the tone that mental health should not be perceived negatively.
  • Identifying the scale of the problem by conducting a survey of the staff.
  • Creating an open environment where employees can come forward about any problems.
  • Training line managers to spot the signs of poor mental health.
  • Practicing early intervention.
  • Training mental health first aiders.
  • Providing an employee assistance programme.
  • Engaging an occupational health professional to assist with issues.
  • Educating employees about the benefits of exercise, healthy eating and sleep.

McCrea goes on to summarize: “For employers, developing early intervention strategies is critical – this includes the provision of mental health first-aiders, providing adequate mental health training for managers, and resilience building for employees, amongst other things.”

“Mental health is currently costing the UK economy billions, and the cost of non-intervention is far greater than the cost of intervention. It’s up to employers to take a proactive approach to managing mental health in the workplace before it’s too late.”

Your mental health is important, so if you or someone you know might be experiencing mental health issues, please visit the following links below to find out more.

http://www.mind.org.uk/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/

http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/

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Sam Rose

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