Only one in three people who have had mental
health problems are confident about disclosing this information on
job application forms, states a report released last week.
However, according to the Mental Health
Foundation study, nine out of 10 of those who were in employment
had told somebody at work about their mental health problems, and
felt supported and accepted.
The MHF’s chief executive Ruth Lesirge said
that it was essential that employers focused on people’s experience
rather than their diagnosis.
“Many of those who were in employment believed
that they were fortunate in receiving support from their employer
and being accepted by colleagues. However, it is still only a
minority of people with mental health problems who are in
employment,” she said.
The survey shows that less than half of people
with psychosis, schizophrenia or manic depression were in full-time
or part-time employment and less than six out of 10 people with
anxiety or depression.
Pressures at work were found to cause or
exacerbate mental health problems, with nearly two out of three
believing that an unrealistic workload, too high expectations and
long hours contributed to their mental health problems.
The MHF recommends that the Disability Rights
Commission gives priority to addressing discrimination against
people with mental health problems and that the government supports
The charity also proposes that the government
and agencies working in the mental health sector should consider a
campaign encouraging people to disclose their mental health
problems and that employers should audit their workplaces to
identify aspects that may be detrimental to mental health.
The report was based on a survey of more than
400 people with personal experience of mental health problems.
Three in 10 employees in the UK will experience mental health
problems each year. The report was launched to mark Mental Health
Action Week, which runs from 31 March to 7 April.
– Out at Work is available from www.mentalhealth.org.uk