This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

One in three workers faces mental health challenges

18 May 2023

New research from Sodexo Engage has found that cost-of-living crisis is directly impacting worker wellbeing...

This week is Mental Health Awareness week – and to coincide with this, new data has been released showing that one in three workers has faced mental health challenges in the workplace. 

The new research from Sodexo Engage found that, not only have 33% of UK employees faced mental health challenges at work, but nearly half (46%) have expressed fear of discrimination due to these challenges.

Furthermore, 41% of respondents do not feel they have anyone to talk to about their mental health at work, while 47% believe that discussing their mental health could negatively affect their job security.

Cost of living crisis

A major contributing factor in this is the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, a significant concern for many employees that has put extra strain on their wellbeing following Covid-19. Sodexo Engage found that almost half of employees (47%) feel the cost-of-living crisis has had a negative impact on their financial wellbeing, while 41% reported negative effects on their mental health.

Notably, the survey also revealed a gender disparity, with a higher percentage of female respondents (49%) experiencing poor mental health at work compared to male respondents (35%). 

Sodexo Engage’s research also found that 27% of respondents took up to five days off in the past year due to poor mental health. On average, this translates to over 9 million UK employees taking time off for health issues, resulting in reduced productivity for businesses. 

The data indicates that young workers are disproportionately affected by mental health issues, with 43% of respondents aged 18-24 taking time off work due to mental health compared to just 21% of 45-54 year-olds. 

When asked, only 19% of respondents said they have mental health-related benefits at their job, indicating a clear gap. Furthermore, recent research by Sodexo Engage suggests that only 11% of employees are taking advantage of their workplace benefits, highlighting utilisation as another key issue.

Graham James, Director at Sodexo Engage, said: “Businesses need to ensure they are creating workplaces where mental health is treated with the same level of importance as physical health, where employees feel supported, valued, and empowered to prioritise their wellbeing overall.”

Flexible working

When asked, respondents said flexible hours (41%) was top of which wellbeing benefits they would like businesses to implement. Other benefits requested included:
-        Wellbeing days (23%)
-        Access to mental health first aiders (18%)
-        Manager mental health training (14%)

Graham continued: “Many businesses are already actively investing in Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to provide a level of professional help and support for the wellbeing of their employees. This support needs to be clearly visible across different communication channels rather than hidden. However, it should also be a priority for organisations to strive to create a culture, which is supportive, inclusive and empathetic. Managers also play a vital role in the culture which is being created and the normalisation of conversations on mental health topics, how to identify signs of mental health concerns, and the ability to ask how a person is feeling.

“Surveys are a great way to ensure the offering is diverse and inclusive and sometimes is smaller more tailored benefits, rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach than can boost the culture being created. For example, while meditation sessions could alleviate anxiety or stress in one organisation, in another business, employees might benefit from a more preventative, self-directed approach to mental wellbeing.”

Print this page | E-mail this page