Stigma of Mental Health still hinders disclosure

Research commissioned by the Shaw Trust revealed on World Mental Health day has revealed that a staggering 49.3% of us wouldn't feel happy to disclose a mental health condition such as depression at work, rising to almost 54% amongst manual unskilled workers.

The research found that only 18.3% of people would reveal a mental health condition to their HR department, however, 34% of people would discuss their condition with their line manager.

Younger workers (16 - 24 year olds) and older workers (over 55's) were least likely to be happy to discuss their mental health conditions. With 57% of younger workers saying they would not discuss it at all and only 12% of over 55's saying they would be happy to talk to their HR department.

Respondents from Edinburgh and Leeds were least happy to discuss their mental health at all (67% and 63% respectively). 39% of the respondents from Edinburgh cited shame and embarrassment as their main reason for not wanting to disclose a mental health condition, whereas, 26% of respondents from Leeds cited fears that their employers would not be sympathetic as the reason for not feeling happy to discuss their mental health.

Speaking about the findings Tim Cooper, Managing Director, Shaw Trust said:-

"Despite the office of National Statistics estimate that one in six people may experience a mental health condition at any one time, our research illustrates that people are still very reluctant to reveal their conditions and show any signs of perceived weakness.
However, we know from our work that people with mental health conditions are perfectly capable of managing a job and their condition with the right support from their employers and therefore feel it is vital that such misconceptions are laid to rest".

In fact 34.5% of respondents said that the reason that they wouldn't want to reveal a mental ill health condition was because they would either feel ashamed or worried that they would be treated differently. With this percentage rising to 43.3% amongst 16 - 24 year olds.

The stigma attached to mental ill health was more of a concern than the fear of possibly hampering career progression among 25 - 44 year olds, with 37% of people in this age group citing shame as their main reason for not feeling happy to talk about a mental health condition.

Those respondents in graduate entry level jobs were the most confident that a mental health condition does not affect their ability to do their jobs, with 29% of the people in this group citing this as the main reason they wouldn't discuss their mental health.

Respondents in professional sales, media and marketing were most concerned amongst all industry sectors about being treated differently if they were to disclose their mental health condition (31%) compared to just 4% of people within the professional finance industry who cited this as a concern.

Professional Finance also came out at the biggest industry group to cite that a mental health condition didn't affect their ability to do their jobs as their main reason for not wishing to discuss it.

Overall 54% of people felt that they would receive more support at work for a physical disability than a mental health condition (rising to 58 % amongst the senior Manager / Professional group) compared to only 6.9% who believed they would receive more support for a mental health condition.

Professor Cary L Cooper, CBE, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University commented

" People have become more comfortable talking about physical illnesses over the years, however, there is still a huge stigma associated with having a mental health condition. Dealing with such a problem often leaves people feeling awkward and a culture of secrecy seems to have emerged in which people are frightened to confide in others".

*All figures unless otherwise stated are from a Tickbox survey. Total sample size was 1070 workers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th - 24th September 2008. The survey was carried out online.

Article sourced from Shaw Trust, to see the original article visit the following link



Posted by, Asif Yusuf



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