Mental health stigma persists in Britain's workplaces

Workplace stigma remains a significant worry for people with mental health problems, new research has shown.

Survey data collected by the CentreForum Mental Health Commission paints a troubling picture of mental health service users' experience of employment:

  • 63% of respondents said they had been treated unfairly in finding a job.
  • 65% said they were concerned about what people at work may think, say or do if their mental health condition became known.
  • 75% said they had stopped themselves from applying for work for fear of how potential employers might respond to their mental health condition.
  • 84% said they had stopped or delayed receiving professional care for a mental health problem over concern it would harm their chances when applying for jobs. Nearly half (49%) had done this a lot.
  • 61% reported they had stopped themselves applying for education or training courses.

These findings add weight to government research published in early December. The government's first 'mental health dashboard' stressed that stigma around mental health problems has yet to be booted out of the workplace, and the consequences are severe.

Paul Burstow MP, Chair of the CentreForum Mental Health Commission and former Care Services Minister, said:

"People living with severe and enduring mental illness get a raw deal. A 20 year gap in life expectancy is the result of NHS neglect of their physical health needs. Just as worrying is their experience of employment with many more people wanting to work than do. This jobs gap can be tackled with practical help."

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If you need help with an employment law matter, including issues involving discrimination, contact our specialist solicitors on 01224 370 208 or fill in our enquiry form today.

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