Workers who ask for help coping with mental health problems are facing demotion, disciplinary action or even dismissal a new study has suggested.
According to the Mental Health at Work 2017 report, a survey of 3,000 workers for the charity Business in the Community found that 60% of people questioned said they had experienced mental health issues because of work.
Some 15% of those who had experienced a mental health issue because of work said they had faced demotion, disciplinary action or dismissal if they talked to their bosses about the issues they faced.
Just over one in ten felt they could tell their line manager about a mental health issue.
Louise Aston, of Business in the Community, said: “This report is an urgent call to action for collective leadership from employers to end this injustice and provide better support.
“It is time to challenge the myth that having a mental health issue equates to poor performance.”
Matthew Streuli suffered from depression and anxiety, partly because of his job at a large multi-national company which, he says, offered him no help and even forced him to resign.
He told news men: “[My work] made it a lot worse to the point where a small incident in the workplace, where I stood up for a temporary member of staff, and that weekend, something snapped and I tried to kill myself.”
“I asked for help and at one point I was given a website to log on to with some basic articles – not something you would expect from a large multinational manufacturer.”
Matthew is now working as a teaching assistant and is happy and healthy after winning an out-of-court settlement with the company that he says drove him to illness.
Responding to the issue, a government spokesperson said: “We are determined to ensure people with mental health conditions are not held back in the workplace.
“We are giving employers the tools they need to recruit, retain and support people with mental health issues through our Disability Confident scheme, and any employees can get additional advice and support through our dedicated Mental Health Support Service.
“But we are committed to go even further, which is why we consulted on these issues through our Work, Health and Disability Green Paper and we’ve commissioned an independent review into mental health and employment.”