Survey reveals UK workers feel under pressure to hide mental health struggles at work

Katie Hoare
By Katie Hoare,
updated on Aug 4, 2021

Survey reveals UK workers feel under pressure to hide mental health struggles at work

Latest report reveals UK workers are feeling mounting pressure to disguise mental health challenges in front of colleagues, alongside feeling less resilient and able to cope than before the pandemic

Ahead of the government urging staff to stop working from home, a workplace wellbeing survey has revealed that 51% of UK workers feel pressure to put on a brave face and hide mental health challenges when returning to office-working, as well as 40% revealing they now feel less resilient than before the pandemic.

The survey, commissioned by online healthcare provider Lime Insurance, revealed there is a growing concern about returning to the office with poor mental health, as almost one in five are concerned their stress will be visible to others, and 26% feel they aren’t coping at all.

More women are feeling under pressure to put on a brave face in front of male colleagues, and younger women are feeling under pressure the most, revealed Lime.

The figures emerge as the government advocates for workers in England to make a gradual return to the office in a bid to phase out working from home, but the benefits of office-working aren’t front of mind for employees. Sadly, many are concerned about the lack of support for their mental health they may face back in the office.

Responding to the survey, one in six (16%) feel their mental health is very well supported at work, but 81% want their employers to provide support for their mental wellbeing.

The data also reveals that young people have struggled the most with the challenges of the pandemic as 43% of women and 49% of men aged 16-24 feel less resilient now than they did before the pandemic.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is however particularly keen for young people to head back to the office fearing home working could be detrimental to their career progression. He told LinkedIn News, “I doubt I would have had those strong relationships if I was doing my summer internship or my first bit of my career over Teams and Zoom. That’s why I think for young people, in particular, being able to physically be in an office is valuable.”

Off the back of the survey, workers want more employers to pay attention to staff workload and work/life balance, as well as implementing flexible working hours and offering mental health days off.

Where to find support

The next few months will be a challenging time for all of us as many gradually fade out working from home in favour of the office. But it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone in this challenge, and if you do feel you need support, help is always available.

If you want to share your mental health challenges with your employer but aren’t sure how to broach the subject, Fiona Thomas shares some tips on how to talk about mental health at work.

If you need a safe space to work through your worries, counselling offers you time to share your thoughts and develop coping strategies in a non-judgmental, confidential space. Use Counselling Directory to find the therapist who is right for you.

If you need to talk to someone right now, Samaritans offers a free telephone listening service, 24/7, 365 days a year. Call 116 123 or email [email protected].

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