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Free mental healthcare screening advocated for the workplace
People living with mental ill health would value the offer of free screening for mental health problems in the workplace

Some 60 per cent of people living with mental ill health agree that employers should offer free screening for depression in the workplace.

More than a third of working people (35 per cent) living with mental ill health say they are not open about their condition at work, according to a study by AXA PPP healthcare.

This compares with 84 per cent who say they are open about their condition with family and or friends.

When it comes to seeking professional help to manage their mental health, nearly half of the people surveyed (47 per cent) say that there had been a particular trigger(s) for their decision to do so.

The chief reasons given are having had an ongoing period of not feeling right or feeling like themselves (52 per cent), and the recommendation from a family member or friend (34 per cent).

However, nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of these respondents say they did not seek professional support for their mental health condition straightaway.

Asked for the reason(s) why not, nearly two thirds (64 per cent) say that they thought they could manage on their own and more than half (52 per cent) say that they didn’t want to admit that they needed help.

But more than eight in ten (83 per cent) say that they wished they had sought help sooner.

Dr Mark Winwood, director of psychological Services at AXA PPP healthcare says, ‘Our research suggests that people living with mental ill health would value the offer of free screening for mental health problems, such as depression, in the workplace.

‘If such a service was widely available, we might see an increase in employees seeking and receiving support for their mental health sooner, before reaching crisis point.’

Adopting this approach would also demonstrate to employees that their psychological wellbeing really matters and, in turn, should help to break down the stigma surrounding mental ill health at work, Winwood adds.  

‘The sooner people feel comfortable and confident identifying the signs and symptoms of mental ill health, the sooner they will access support and the sooner they can start to feel better.’

Further reading on mental health

See also: Guidelines for workplace monitoring

Related topics:
Health and safety

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