1/5 large employers say workplaces do not take mental health seriously

Wednesday 15 May 2019

One in five employers in large firms say workplaces do not take mental health seriously, finds Young Women’s Trust

YWT LOGOOne in five (19 per cent) senior HR professionals / people managers in large firms say that mental health is not taken seriously in their workplace and close to a quarter (23 per cent) say employees are have been treated unfairly over their mental health, according to YouGov polling commissioned by Young Women’s Trust for Mental Health Awareness Week. More than two in five (46 per cent) HR decision-makers working in large organisations employing 250 or more people said that their work environment negatively impacts on employees’ mental health. 

This comes after the charity, which supports young women on no or low pay, conducted a major poll of young people using Populus Data Solutions, revealing that poor mental health is impacting young people’s ability to work. One in five say that their mental health has affected their ability to stay in a job and a third say that it has prevented them seeking work.

 

Work-related mental health concerns are far higher among young women than young men. 52 per cent of women age 18 to 30 say that work has had a negative impact on their mental health, compared to 42 per cent of young men. 

In better news, however, the charity’s latest YouGov survey shows that employers are generally supportive of their teams taking time off for their mental health: 

  • four in five (78 per cent) say employees should take a mental health sick day if they need to;
  • half (49 per cent) say the people they manage have taken time off work for mental health-related issues; and
    • 14 per cent have taken time off themselves for a mental health related issue. 

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said: 

“At Young Women’s Trust we’re hearing from huge numbers of young women who are facing financial challenges due to unemployment, low pay and insecure work. We know too that workplace discrimination, including the gender pay gap and sexual harassment, is rife. As a result, young women’s mental health concerns are skyrocketing. 

“We need urgent action to improve young women's prospects. Alongside high-quality and timely mental health support, providing stable jobs would benefit young women, businesses and the economy.” 

ENDS 

Notes to editor: 

  1. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 18-30 in England and Wales trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don't go to waste.  
  2. Young Women’s Trust commissioned YouGov to conduct a survey of HR decision-makers. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 802 senior HR professionals/ people managers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th - 23rd February 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the UK business population by size and sector. The findings show that:
  • 17 per cent say their workplace does not take mental seriously, rising to 19 per cent in organisations that employ 250 or more people;
  • 17 per cent say that, in their workplace, people are unfairly treated over mental health, rising to 23 per cent in organisations with 250 or more employees;
  • 37 per cent say that the work environment in their organisation negatively impacts on employees’ mental health, rising to 46 per cent in organisations with 250 or more employees and 53 per cent in the public sector (including 46 per cent in education and 52 per cent in healthcare, compared to 32 per cent in the private sector);
  • 19 per cent say that mental health is stigmatised in their workplace, rising to 24 per cent in large organisations;
  • four in five (78 per cent) say employees should take a mental health sick day if they need to;
  • 49 per cent of managers say the people they manage have taken time off work for mental health-related issues; and
  • 14 per cent have taken time off themselves for a mental health related issue.
  1. Young Women’s Trust by Populus Data Solutions. A representative sample of 4,010 18-30 year olds and 1,115 54-72 year olds in England and Wales, with panel services provided by Populus Live, were surveyed between 29 June-16 July 2018. The survey shows that:
  • 28 per cent say their mental health has affected their ability to seek work (31 per cent of young women and 25 per cent of young men);
  • 19 per cent say mental health has affected their ability to stay in a job (22 per cent of young women, 15 per cent of young men);
  • 22 per cent, or a fifth, report being depressed;
  • 47 per cent, or nearly half, say that their work has had a negative impact on their mental health (52 per cent of young women and 42 per cent of young men);
  • 45 per cent of young people say that financial worries have a negative impact on their mental health (51 per cent of young women and 39 per cent of young men);
  • 24 per cent of young people say that housing difficulties have a negative impact on their mental health (27 per cent of young women and 21 per cent of young men);
  • 25 per cent of young people, or a quarter, say their mental health has got worse in past 12 months (29 per cent of young women and 21 per cent of young men);
  • 44 per cent of young women and 34 per cent of young men are worried about their mental health; and
  • while 48 per cent would make a doctor their first port of call for physical health, just 24 per cent would do the same for mental health. 81 per cent of people included the doctors on their list of support for physical health, but just 53 per cent did the same for mental health.
  1. For more information, regional breakdowns or to speak to a young woman who is affected, please contact Bex Bailey on 07963018281 or bex.bailey@youngwomenstrust.org.

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