Is staff mental health still a priority?

Is staff mental health still a priority?
Published: 11 March 2022

During 2021, Berwick Partners published a comprehensive survey on well-being in the workplace. A new survey by South Westminster Business Alliance research (SWBA) has echoed much of our research, with 78% of managers admitting to not being able to spot the signs of poor mental health among employees.

In the mental health section of our report, we found that 42% of employees felt unable speak to their manager about their mental health, fearing the impact on their career. SWBA found that fewer than one quarter of managers (21%) said supporting employee mental health is a priority for them this year.

Mental health is worsening

Employee mental health was an issue before the pandemic, during it, and will remain as the business world recovers, and is not only personal or caused by external factors like COVID-19. While prioritising business recovery and performance following years of disruption from COVID-19 is logical, so is retaining and supporting talent by truly supporting their mental health.

Worryingly, an independent OHID study has found that 49% of employees report worsening mental health due to the pandemic. So, with much of the workforce’s mental health still declining, why is mental health not being seen as a priority for leaders?

An urgent need for training

Through our research it became clear many people managers have not been given the tools or training to help. 58% of people managers felt they had inadequate training in creating a good mental health culture, whilst 40% did not feel confident in spotting the signs of an employee mental health issue. Furthermore, 74% of those surveyed did not feel able to manage a team member with and ongoing mental health issue.

These failings have been shown to have a real effect on business productivity too. 40% of respondents had issues with their concentration at work due to their mental health and a further 32% felt they took longer to carry out tasks. The most startling fact however was that almost a third of our respondents said they had left an organisation due to their mental health.

Any issue which costs a business a third of its workforce clearly needs to be addressed urgently.

For further information about our report, please contact Alex Richardson.

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