1 in 3 Would Always Go to Work with Poor Mental Health in 2017/18


44,000 staff from across 74 organisations across the UK shared their views and experiences through staff surveys and in-depth interviews in our 2017/18 Workplace Wellbeing Index.

Participants ranged from very small voluntary organisations to very large private sector companies. In Wales eight employers took part including Companies House, the first Welsh employer to achieve a gold award.

The Workplace Wellbeing Index, launched by Mind in 2016, is the only data set of its kind dedicated to benchmarking employers on their approach to workplace mental health. For Mind it’s a key part of our mission to support a million people to have good mental health at work by 2021.

The Index looks at five areas of every workplace: culture and engagement, wellbeing initiatives, knowledge and skills, people management and support tools.

Research from the second year of the Index shows that feeling motivated, having a manageable workload and taking time to reflect are the three factors most strongly associated with self-reported mental health, anxiety, and happiness at work.

Here are some of our key findings;

  1. Mental health still has some way to go to achieve parity with physical health. Sixty per cent of respondents who have experience of a mental health problem said they would always go to work when experiencing poor mental health, even if they would benefit from time off. In contrast, only 27 per cent would always go to work if they were experiencing poor physical health.
  2. Whilst most employers have initiatives that encourage positive wellbeing behaviours such as regular exercise, healthy eating and flexible work arrangements, line managers are not setting examples of good practice. Ensure your line managers are role models for positive behaviours. This will boost the number of staff who feel able to take breaks, sick leave when they need it and time to recuperate after busy periods.
  3. Only 36% of line managers reported feeling confident about their mental health knowledge and how to respond when a staff member discloses that they are experiencing poor mental health. Provide your staff with the skills and knowledge to support wellbeing, through mental health training and signposting to improve mental health literacy and awareness.
  4. Initiatives in place at are not always filtering down to all employees. Generally staff agree that their employer works with them to create goals and learning opportunities, but in many cases they do not feel that their wellbeing specifically is as well managed or supported. The range of support tools on offer is often limited and many staff do not feel they are effective.
  5. 25% of participating organisations still don’t monitor staff wellbeing and mental health.  Wellbeing in the workplace is complex and needs a comprehensive approach which includes ongoing assessment to identify key areas for concern and targeted improvements. Ensuring that the support tools on offer are appropriate and beneficial to employees, will help more staff feel more confident in the support offered by their employer and encourage them to use it when they need to.

The picture in Wales

Of the 1379 employees from the eight Welsh organisations which took part, 46 per cent felt their organisation supports their mental health. 49 per cent said their organisation encourages openness and discussion about mental health issues and 50 per cent said they feel their line manager supports their mental health.

The picture painted by these findings is that many organisations are heading in the right direction. But there is also evidence in our findings that there is still a lot more to achieve. Work should not be a barrier to good mental health and we still have some way to go until workplace mental health is part of everyday business for employers.

However, it’s with forward thinking employers such as those participating in our Workplace Wellbeing Index where real change is being seen. We applaud all of the organisations who have taken part and look forward to welcoming more in the years to come.

Find out more about Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index.