Posted on 17th February, 2022

Poll finds only a fifth of managers say firms are prioritising mental health

Only a fifth of managers have said their company is prioritising mental health this year, research has found, as experts say now is a ‘crucial moment’ for organisations to support their staff.

A poll of 501 UK managers, conducted by the South Westminster Business Alliance, found just 21 per cent said their firm considered employee mental health a priority for 2022.

The research also polled 2,007 general employees and found that two thirds (64 per cent) did not think their management would spot the signs of poor mental health, while 71 per cent believed their managers would benefit from training on the issue.

Of the managers polled, four in five (78 per cent) admitted they struggled to spot signs of poor mental health.

Ruth Duston, CEO of the South Westminster Business Alliance, said businesses needed to “prioritise mental health and wellbeing in order to create the best chance” for the economy to recover.

“Businesses have shown huge resolve, in spite of ongoing uncertainty and lack of clarity… However, we must draw our attention to supporting the workforce as the backbone of our communities and economy,” she said.

Duston said this meant creating an “open, inclusive dialogue” where staff are able to express any concerns they have. “From there, businesses must build and refine their mental health offering and have buy-in from all levels of the organisation,” she said.

Commenting on the findings, Lucy Strang, research associate at the Policy Institute, King’s College London, said now was an important time for businesses to support their workforce as they adapt to new ways of working.

“There is increasing awareness of the rise in mental health challenges, which have been accelerated by the pandemic,” she said. “It is a crucial moment in time for employees returning to hybrid working, so it is vital that businesses do all they can to support.”

The findings follow revelations earlier this month that only a minority of employees would feel comfortable discussing personal issues around mental health, financial problems or grief with their line managers.

A poll by BHFSF of more than 2,000 UK employees who had been working from home during the pandemic found that just 41 per cent would raise mental health concerns with their manager, less than a third (28 per cent) would talk about financial concerns, and only 22 per cent would discuss grief.


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