Getting help | Why is it so hard for our employees to seek mental health support?

Why is it so hard for our employees to seek mental health support?

Deep Dive

And what is HR doing to help? With a recent study showing that lack of support from their employer is one of the reasons people put off seeking help, it’s time for a deep dive into how the workplace can help.

Despite mental health taking a front seat in both the wider public discourse and the workplace wellbeing discourse, many are not only struggling to access the help they need – they aren’t even seeking it in the first place.

A new study by therapist access specialists Therapy Finder has revealed that 70% of working age people in the UK have never reached out for help therapeutically, medically, or at work. Since isolation makes mental health issues more pronounced, it’s shocking that more line managers aren’t picking up on this – particularly when ONS and Therapy Finder figures show that two in five adults have anxiety, a third have depression, and more than a quarter have low self-esteem.

Claire Williams, Therapist and founder of TherapyFinders.co.uk, told HR Grapevine that no one should be shocked by these revelations.

“It sadly doesn’t come as much of a surprise that so many people in the UK are living with a mental health illness and, quite often it appears, in silence. Our research shows that adults are unsure of the type of therapy they could need, and for workers, 70% do not know how to access any mental health support that could be available to them.”

Much more needs to be done to make people feel encouraged to take up the offer.

She continues: “Mental health is being spoken about much more widely in our society these days, especially in the younger generations, but there are still lots of people living with the old ideas that you mustn’t talk about your problems and to always appear as if “everything is fine”. The only way that this changes is if the people who are running the companies are the ones saying that it’s ok to talk and, importantly, not just saying it but actually encouraging it and recognising when someone is struggling.

“My employer doesn’t care about me”

There are myriad reasons why people don’t seek the help they need: from being unsure of where to start, to the sheer overwhelmedness any interaction with the NHS merits these days. But the Therapy Finders research actually shows that a lack of support from their employer was one of the top reasons.

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