Many people continue to put a brave face on mental health

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Seven in ten employees (67 percent full time and 69 percent part time) say that they feel the need to put a brave face on things when asked about their mental health. Half (47 percent full time and 54 percent part time) report that the reason is because bigger things are going on in the world right now and they don’t wish to be a burden, whilst a quarter of full time employees (27 percent) and a third of part time employees (35 percent) don’t believe that people really want to know how they are. A quarter (26 percent full time and 27 percent part time) say they fear being judged if they open up. As a result they are feeling withdrawn, isolated and less able to socialise.

The biggest impact on employee mental health is the cost of living crisis, with 52 percent of full time employees and 59 percent of part time employees saying it is affecting them, but work also plays a role, causing mental health challenges for 40 percent of full time workers and 30 percent of part time.

The poll of 5,012 general respondents across the UK  was conducted by Censuswide as part of Time to Talk Day, the nation’s biggest conversation about mental health. The day is run by mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness in partnership with Co-op, with the aim to spark millions of conversations about mental health in communities, schools, homes, workplaces and online across the UK.

When asked how they are the phrase ‘Good thanks, and you?’ is often wheeled out to deflect, by 35 percent full time employees and 38 percent part time, with ‘Fine, thanks’ a popular choice for 28 percent of full time employees and 37 percent part time.

Half of employees (46 percent full time and 48 percent part time) believe that mental health is a taboo subject, demonstrating the need for employee wellbeing schemes to help normalise speaking about mental health, and opportunities for employees to open up – like Time to Talk Day.

Dr Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive of Mind, said “Our survey highlights that too often, we put a brave face on and tell people we’re fine when we’re not because we’re worried about being a burden during difficult times. But bottling things up is only making things worse. Talking about our mental health can help us feel less alone, more able to cope, and encouraged to seek support if we need to. Have a conversation this Time to Talk Day.”