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Strained & untrained: 45% of UK’s managers are not trained to spot mental health issues in colleagues

Just 17% of UK managers feel “very confident” in ability to support colleagues experiencing mental health issues.

A shocking proportion of managers in the UK workforce have never received training to equip them with the skills needed to spot mental health issues, a study by Viking has found.  

The study (which can be viewed in full here, alongside a guide to creating a more supportive working environment) found that only 17% of UK managers feel “very confident” in their ability to support colleagues experiencing mental health issues.  

Despite this apparent skills deficit, it mental health issues are common in the workplace. 65% of UK managers have been approached regarding issues relating to mental health, stress or anxiety. 42% have experienced a colleague requesting a day off for issues relating to mental health, stress or anxiety. 

Compounding this is the survey’s finding that 67% of managers in the UK felt that there was a stigma around stress, anxiety and other issues with mental health in the workplace. 

Clare Porciani, Senior Manager HR Operations UK & Ireland at Viking, says: “Our findings highlight that, despite the workplace showing great positive movements in quality of life, inclusivity and many other areas, we’re falling short when it comes to knowing how we can support those struggling with their mental health. With so many managers believing that mental health problems are stigmatised in the workplace, its plain to see that there’s a lot more to be done. 

“Employers need to ensure that every employee (and particularly managers) receive training around mental health issues, and that this training offers knowledge that each employee can fall back on should they notice a colleague struggling or should they themselves be affected.” 

Key findings from Viking’s survey:

  • 45% of UK’s managers have not been trained to spot mental health issues in colleagues.
  • Just 17% of UK managers feel “very confident” in their ability to support colleagues experiencing mental health issues.
  • 67% of managers in the UK felt that there was a stigma around stress, anxiety and other issues with mental health in the workplace.
  • 65% of UK managers have been approached regarding issues relating to mental health, stress or anxiety.
  • 42% of UK managers have experienced a colleague requesting a day off for issues relating to mental health, stress or anxiety.
  • Just 6% thought there “definitely wasn’t” a workplace stigma around issues relating to mental health, stress or anxiety.