Third of workers in East Midlands would feel uncomfortable speaking to their boss about mental health issue

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More than a third of workers in the East Midlands would be in fear of speaking to their employer about a mental health issue such as depression or stress, according to a new survey.

In a survey of 3,000 people in employment across the UK, 75 percent of respondents in the East Midlands said they have felt stressed at work over the last 12 months and 45 percent saying they know a colleague who had given up work due to stress.

A worrying 32 percent said that they had complained of being stressed in the past, but their employer hadn’t done anything to help.

Stress across the UK is more acute among younger employees than their older counterparts (82 percent of 16-24 year olds compared to 68 percent of those aged 55-64), while women (79 percent) are more likely to experience stress than men (71%). Only 19 percent of employees have taken time off work because of stress, despite 41 percent of employees stating that they do not believe that a colleague suffering with stress should still come into work.

The survey also revealed:

* 44 percent of people working in the East Midlands would rather go into work while under-the-weather than have work stack up in their absence.

* 54 percent of East Midlands’ workers feel under more pressure to come into work when ill than used to be the case;

* 31 percent of employees in the East Midlands find it difficult to completely switch off from work issues even when on holiday;

To mark World Mental Health Day, Capita Employee Benefits, which carried out the survey, is calling on employers to take pro-active steps to manage to mental health of their employees.

Alistair Dornan, head of health management at Capita Employee Benefits, said: “Stress can take a toll on people at work, affecting their emotional and physical health as well as productivity. If employees do not feel they can talk comfortably to their employer then they may look to hide the issue. This makes it harder for employers to tackle stress and could lead to absence or performance issues.

“In our experience stigma and lack of effective management means most organisations treat illness rather than promote positive mental health. We are encouraging employers to take a pro-active approach. This includes the use of employee assistance programmes such as online support, as well as line management training to help senior staff spot the early signs of stress or depression.”