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Nearly half of employees with mental health issues have felt discriminated against at work

47% of workers with a mental health issue have felt discriminated against in the workplace because of their condition, according to research released today, on World Mental Health Day, by Badenoch & Clark, part of The Adecco Group UK and Ireland.

The Badenoch & Clark research report, ‘Breaking boundaries: Mental health and the failings of the UK workplace’ also found that more than half (64%) of respondents did not disclose their current or previous mental health issues as part of the recruitment process for their most recent role. Worryingly, close to one in five (18%) have already left a job because of a lack of understanding around or negative attitudes towards mental health.

The research also highlights the top reasons that employees felt discriminated against, including a difficulty in forming work relationships (19%), not being included in social events (16%) and being overlooked for a job (15%).

When asked what steps employers could take to create a more positive and inclusive attitude towards mental health challenges in the workplace, respondents recommended HR policies to support employees and line managers to deal with mental health challenges (45%) and clear communication that poor mental health is a valid reason for sick leave (33%). On top of this, respondents listed workplace training for employees and line managers on how to positively support those with mental health challenges (29%) as a way to ease prejudice.

Guy Emmerson, Senior Vice President of Badenoch & Clark, said: “With the government announcing its review into mental health support in the workplace earlier in the year, we are seeing a positive shift in the way organisations approach it. However, there is still a long way to go to ensure that employers take a proactive approach to addressing mental health stigma in the workplace. Organisations must prioritise policies which support individuals living with mental health issues, including empowering them to feel comfortable disclosing their condition as part of the recruitment process.”

Emmerson continues: “Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK experience mental health challenges every year. Employees who feel discriminated against and unsupported are less likely to remain at their current companies, meaning that business productivity inevitably suffers as a result. In today’s competitive recruitment landscape, organisations simply cannot afford to let mental health fall by the wayside.”