Soapbox: mental health stigma in the workplace is a major issue - Judith Robertson
At See Me, the national programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination, we recently carried out a survey which found that 48 per cent of Scottish workers said people would be unlikely to tell their employers about mental health problems for fear of losing their job.
The figures, part of a YouGov survey of 1,165 Scottish workers, also found 55 per cent thought that people would be unlikely to disclose a mental illness as it could result in being passed over for promotion or moved to another post.
Additionally, only 22 per cent thought that their co-workers had a good understanding of the importance of employee mental health. However, 83 per cent said they would want a better understanding if their colleague was experiencing mental health problems.
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Stigma and discrimination in the workplace is a major issue and these figures show there is a significant problem with people being able to speak openly about mental health.
The cost to Scottish employers by not properly supporting employees with mental health conditions is considerable, approximately £2bn a year.
Employers have a legal and moral responsibility to look after the health and wellbeing of everyone who works for them and it is important they know how staff are being treated.
At See Me we want to change the cultures of workplaces in Scotland, so people can feel safe in speaking openly about their mental health.
To do this we have launched the See Me in Work programme. Through it we are engaging with employers and supporting them in making changes to their work practices, to improve the working lives of employees with mental health problems.
It encourages an equal and fair recruitment process and ensures those returning to work following ill-health are fully supported.
We want to encourage employers to visit the See Me in Work section of our site seemescotland.org and sign up to the programme.