Canada Life  

One in five go into work when mentally unwell

One in five go into work when mentally unwell

More people went into work with mental health issues last year than during the previous 12 months, a poll of more than 1,000 UK employees has found.

The research, conducted by Canada Life Group Insurance, found that 22 per cent of those polled had gone into work when suffering from a mental health problem in 2017, up from 18 per cent the previous year.

More than a fifth of those polled (21 per cent) said they were more likely to come into work when suffering from a mental health issue than from a physical one.

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Paul Avis, marketing director of Canada Life Group Insurance, said: "Mental health issues can be a vicious cycle for employees, fuelled by persistent presenteeism and the need to be 'always on'.

"Employees suffering from mental illness should be focusing on getting better, rather than struggling into the office, as the stress of work is unlikely to lead to an improvement in their overall condition."

Other findings from the survey included concerns among 15 per cent of those polled that managers were unlikely to take employees with mental health issues seriously, while 15 per cent said they felt future career progression could be threatened if they take time off for recovery.

The Canada Life survey comes two days after a separate poll of 4,000 Britons by corporate advisory group Mercer found just 46 per cent of employees are satisfied with their current financial situation.

Notably, the Mercer poll found that 60 per cent of employees said financial concerns had caused them to experience stress, fatigue and other mental health symptoms.

Wolfgang Seidl,workplace health consulting leader for UK and Europe of Mercer Marsh Benefits, said mental health has become "an abstract concept" in many ways, which underscores the importance of taking a practical approach to resolving issues.

He said: "Looking at the root causes, such as financial worries, harassment, lack of equality, lack of opportunities to exercise, and more, makes it easier to find ways to prevent and treat."

Jazz Jhumat, an independent financial adviser at Manchester-based JJFS, said employers should aid those experiencing mental health issues adding that those with financial worries could benefit from a referral to a qualified adviser.

She said: "Mental health needs to be taken more seriously and all employers should offer counselling and guidance.

"If symptoms are related to financial matters, employees should be helped via occupational health, as most financial advisers will give their initial consultation for free.

"Not addressing financial issues can make mental health issues significantly worse. For those struggling with debt, there is always something that the lenders are happy to do if you speak to them."