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This week is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. AXA PPP, a health insurance company, has recently carried out some research in which they found that 39% of employees who have a mental health condition, aren’t open about this condition at work. Reasons include being embarrassed, not wanting it to harm their career prospects, a fear of being judged by their manager, and predominantly, a third of those surveyed fear being judged by their colleagues.

Discussing mental health is still such a taboo topic, especially within the workplace. Around 45% of those with a mental health condition would rather talk about their physical wellbeing.

Mental health is described as “the mental and emotional state in which we feel able to cope with the normal stresses of everyday life.” (ACAS)

A survey carried out by CIPD, the Chartered Institute of Personal Development, found that 31% of people have experienced mental health problems at work. With a high proportion of these people being female or working within the voluntary sector.

With mental health being taboo within many workplaces, and employees not feeling like they can discuss it at work, it can have a negative effect on the business. Mental health sufferers are more likely to get into conflicts with colleagues, be less patient with customers and clients, find it harder to juggle multiple tasks, and 80% find it more difficult to concentrate. If mental health was properly addressed within the workplace, these issues would be less likely to arise. ACAS has said that “mental health problems cost employers in the UK £30 billion a year through lost production, recruitment and absence.” (ACAS)

Adrian Lewis, Director at Activ Absence, has said that, “Unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to mental illness, which can make people uncomfortable about discussing it at work. People are often scared of what their boss or colleagues might think, and think that admitting to a mental health condition could mean them losing their job. This leaves many suffering in silence, often until they get to breaking point and have to take time off work.” (Recruiting Times)

The stigma of metal health needs to be abolished within the workplace, and workplaces need to provide appropriate training and support in order to aid and promote positive mental wellbeing.

If you would like to read more on this study, please visit

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