Despite several high-profile, hard-hitting campaigns, more than half (56%) of van drivers and owners still say there is a stigma attached to discussing mental health at work, according to the latest Business Barometer research from Mercedes-Benz Vans UK.
More than 2,000 van drivers and owners were asked to give their candid views and experiences of mental health issues in the workplace, and the top reason cited for this perceived stigma is because it is a ‘male-dominated industry’.
Being in a ‘a male-dominated’ workplace was a key factor for 50% of those who felt there was still a sigma, with a further 46% highlighting fears over job security and career progression that make talking about mental health a taboo at work.
According to the new survey 28% of managers said an employee had spoken to them about mental health concerns, although female managers are more likely to have experienced an employee talking about mental health concerns than male managers (32% vs 26%).
Nearly three out of five (57%) of those who say a colleague or employee has spoken to them about a mental health issue felt ‘glad they could confide in me’, but one in four admitted they felt uninformed, 21% said they felt embarrassed and a further 17% did not feel equipped to know what to do or say.
The prevailing taboo affects not just businesses – mental health conditions such as work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 15.8 million sick days last year according to ONS data.
The latest government figures (ONS Report 2001-2013) shows that a man between 20 and 49, is more likely to die from suicide than cancer, road accidents or heart disease and suicide rates in men aged between 45 and 59 have also now begun to rise, increasing to their highest levels since 1981.