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Mental health big factor in absenteeism

Fifth of workers ‘do not believe’ stress sufferers

Mental health depressionOne in five Scottish workers are sceptical about colleagues who take time off as a result of mental health issues such as depression, stress or anxiety, new research has revealed.

The study of 1,388 workers also found that 15% in the region still do not believe stress is a genuine mental health condition.

This is despite the fact more than a third (34%) claim to have suffered from mental health problems at some point themselves.

Mike Blake, director at Willis PMI Group, which commissioned the survey, said: “These results highlight the extent of the challenge employers face in educating their staff about the serious nature of mental health issues.

“Stress and mental ill health are both among the top four causes of long-term absence for manual and non-manual workers.

“Therefore, it is crucial businesses overcome the traditional stigma attached to these conditions in order to create a more open, empathetic culture. Doing this will allow them to better identify sufferers, provide effective treatment and make the return to work process smoother and less daunting for the employee.”

The study further revealed that 51% of Scottish employees have worked with a colleague who suffered from mental health issues, while 23% of workers believe colleagues who have previously suffered from mental health issues are less able to fulfil their job role properly.

Mr Blake added: “From a risk perspective, there is potential for a rise in Employers’ Liability claims related to stress and mental health. Therefore companies can leave themselves badly exposed if they fail to provide sufferers with a clear pathway for reintegration into the workforce.

“There are clear implications for productivity and sickness absence too, but the effects can be mitigated by implementing a comprehensive framework for tackling mental health issues that includes proper data capture, company culture, benefits and wellbeing schemes.”

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