Anglian backed report shows businesses fall short in help for mentally ill staff

An Anglian Water-sponsored Mental Health at Work report by Business In The Community, has found that UK employers are frequently "failing to provide adequate support to employees or equip managers" to help in instances of mental illness.

More than three quarters of employees have experienced symptoms of poor mental health in their lives, work contributing to their illness in 62% of cases according to the report.

And more than one half of employees (56%) who reported symptoms of poor mental health claimed their employer took no action to help. The report found also that 22% of managers have had mental health training. The report, based on interviews with some 20,000 people, found that almost one half of respondents would not discuss a mental health problem with their boss. Yet 97% of senior managers considered themselves to be accessible to staff who wanted to talk about their mental health.

Meanwhile 63% of managers emphasised that they were obliged to put the interests of the company above the wellbeing of the staff.

The survey will continue and follow up on interviewed employees for three years.

Anglian chief executive, Peter Simpson said: “This survey gives us an extraordinary opportunity to highlight the unspoken reality of employee mental health, and fundamentally change the way that businesses approach mental wellbeing in the workplace." He added: “There is not only a moral urgency to act on mental health; there is also a clear business case for doing so. As well as improved lives, it means more productive, competitive and progressive businesses for the long term."

Simpson is also Chair of Business In the Community’s Wellbeing Taskforce, went on to say; “For businesses to have real impact it’s requires clear and visible senior leadership. At Anglian Water, ultimately the responsibility stops with me."

Wellbeing director at Business in the Community, Louise Aston, said: “It is good that mental wellbeing is on the radar for business leaders and senior managers, but this is still not translating into adequate support for employees experiencing poor mental health."