Lonely mountain

Nearly a third (30%) of workers in the UK are unsure about who to talk to or where to find help or support regarding metal health issues, according to new research.

In addition, nearly 40% find it hard to talk to or open up about their mental health to anyone. The findings, from the ‘Mental Resilience’ survey conducted by health insurer Westfield Health, have been released to mark Time to Talk Day (4 February).

According to the research, 32% of employees feel they were treated differently by their line manager after returning to work following absence related to mental ill health, and 20% also felt their fellow colleagues’ attitudes towards them had changed.

When asked how they were treated differently, responses included: “I felt that people were walking on egg shells around me which made me feel low and not want to speak to anyone” and “Due to the nature of my ill health colleagues were not sure how to approach me or what to say”.

Time to Talk Day is part of the anti-stigma campaign Time to Change, and aims to help end the misconceptions around mental health by breaking the silence around it and getting the nation talking.

Westfield Health’s Executive Director, Dave Capper, said: "Our research found that the emotionally fit appear to be out of step with those who’ve experienced a mental health issue, with respondents stating that colleagues didn’t know how to broach the subject when they returned to work and regularly feeling like there was ‘an elephant in the room’.

“So while mental health is becoming much more talked about in general, it’s clear that improvements still need to be made.”