A sizeable proportion of workers in the UK diagnosed with a mental health condition feel they are treated differently at work, compared with those who have a physical or visible illness.
Over a quarter (27%) said they managers treated them differently, and 22% for their colleagues, according to AXA PPP Healthcare.
Over a third (39%) of employees living with a mental health condition said they are not open about their illness in their workplace. The top reasons include being afraid of judgement by colleagues (30%) and managers (24%), and being afraid it would harm their career prospects (22%). Over a quarter (29%) said it's because they are embarrassed about their condition.
The research also revealed that nearly half (45%) employees say they would be more comfortable talking to their employer about their physical health than about their mental health.
Dr Mark Winwood, director of physcological services at AXA PPP Healthcare, said: "Employers have a responsibility to create a work environment where employees feel able to be open and honest with their managers. Equally, managers need to feel confident to have a conversation with their employees about how they are and whether or not they need any support. This confidence can be helped through training and support from their employer.
"A manager asking simply 'How are you feeling today?' shows they care. It is also essential that managers can reassure employees that it's okay not to feel okay, and they should feel able to let the employee know about support available to them in the workplace and how to access it. For example, the manager could suggest the employee seeks professional help or uses support such as an employee assistance programme that their employer may offer."