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Mental health problems on the rise

Ross Bentley
New research by the Work Foundation has revealed that mental health problems in the workplace are far more widespread than previously thought, and many line managers are ill-equipped to deal with those suffering from mental health problems.

Of the employees questioned, 66% said they or a work colleague had experienced a mental health problem. Of the line managers questioned, 70% had managed a member of staff with a diagnosed or suspected mental health problem.

About 46% of employees said they would go to their line manager if they were affected by mental health issues and 65% anticipated that their manager would be understanding.

However, few employees thought their managers would be able to provide practical support and only 2% thought they would have the knowledge and skills to handle the situation well.

Lack of information about mental health is emerging as a real problem for line managers:

l52% felt they did not have access to adequate information on how to manage people with mental health problems

l76% reported that their organisation did not have adequate policies or procedures to deal with mental health. If policies were in place, this was not made known to employees

l4% of managers with access to policies and procedures knew exactly how to handle a situation and deal with it well, but only 37% knew enough to deal with a problem satisfactorily.

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