IoD: ‘New survey shows rise in reports of mental health issues in the workplace’

Business leaders have seen a rise in the number of staff raising concerns around mental health in the last 14 months, a new survey by the Institute of Directors reveals. The poll of 700 directors shows four in ten have been approached by staff, up 12 percentage points from 2017. A similar number (42%) report employees taking time off work due to mental health problems.

Poor relationships with line management and workload have the biggest negative impact on employees’ mental health, closely followed by poor relationship with colleagues, the data showed. Those in larger organisations were particularly likely to say the line manager relationship needed improvement, with more than half in companies with over 100 employees pointing to this factor. However, only one in five business leaders said they were able to offer mental health training for management.

Since launching its Mental Health in the Workplace campaign in 2017, the IoD has joined forces with a number of organisations to raise awareness of the issue.

Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“While mental health is no longer the taboo subject it was, much work remains to be done. Directors must take to heart the importance of their workforce’s mental health, just as they would their physical health.

“The bottom line is this: the workplace shouldn’t be somewhere that people feel they have to hide the problems they are facing. In fact, it should be one of the places where help is most easily found.

“Larger organisations need to make sure that good practice spreads through every layer of their organisation. In smaller firms, where capacity for formal training is often limited, managers must still show willing to engage with the issue.

“We want businesses to see tackling mental health not as a drain on resources but as a positive investment in the wellbeing of their staff.”