Workmates stay silent over mental health issues

Workmates stay silent over mental health issues

Many people are happy to talk about their private lives at work with colleagues, including discussing the end of a relationship, money problems and even sex.

However, it seems that chats or discussions about mental health are a different story. Mental illness is the subject that people feel least comfortable talking about with their managers or even friends at work, according to a survey. Part of the reason appears to be awkwardness: people are uncertain how to raise or discuss issues that they see as highly sensitive and are worried that they might say the wrong thing.

A poll commissioned by Time to Change, a mental health campaigning organisation, asked 2,025 adults to choose from ten topics that they felt they could discuss with colleagues at work. Mental health came bottom of the list, cited by 13 per cent. The most commonly chosen subject was a divorce or the end of a relationship, which 30 per cent said that they would feel comfortable talking about in the office or workplace.

Next came financial problems, picked by 26 per cent, followed by dating advice at 20 per cent, religion, 19 per cent and sex, 18 per cent.

Just over half said that they would be prepared to support a colleague if they noticed signs that might indicate anxiety or another form of mental illness, but 39 per cent of this group said that they would not know how to go about doing so.

Sue Baker, director of Time to Change, appealed to people to introduce mental health into workplace conversations to give colleagues an opportunity to talk about issues such as anxiety or depression if they wished to.

She said: “Christmas is branded the most wonderful time of the year but it can be challenging and stressful for those of us struggling with mental health problems or with life stresses. The pressure to spend money, socialise and have fun can leave people feeling more isolated than ever, especially if we feel there’s no one to turn to.”

Source: The Times

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