Employers failing to support workers with depression

by |
Despite HR professionals’ best intentions, the vast majority of workers who suffer from depression say they don’t feel supported by their employers.

The disconcerting new study, published by jobsite CV Library, found that 70 per cent of employees with depression don’t feel supported while 73 per cent believe there is a negative stigma around depression in the workplace.

The survey also revealed that 74 per cent wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to their manager about their issues while 64 per cent wouldn’t give ‘depression’ as the reason for calling in sick.

“A huge proportion of the nation’s professionals are suffering with mental health issues, and it’s concerning to see that attitudes aren’t changing as quickly as they should be,” said Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV Library.

Louise Bradley, president and CEO of the Mental Health Commission, told HRM that workplaces have come on leaps and bounds in regards to supporting employers but stigma still plays a huge role.

“We’ve made a great deal of progress but we’ve still a way to go,” she said. “The progress that we’ve made is great but we will have a struggle on our hands because the whole issue of stigma is something that is quite germane to talking about workplace mental health.

“After over 30 years being in the mental health field, I know that every single one of us has a personal story – whether it’s about ourselves or someone we know – but we’re still very reluctant to talk about mental health issues and illness,” she continued.

According to CV Library’s research, the top solutions to support employees with depression are:

1. Flexible working opportunities – 23 per cent
2. More support from management – 21 per cent
3. Affirmation of job security – 13 per cent
4. Reduced workloads – 9 per cent
5. Access to counselling services – 9 per cent
More like this:

Costly mistake as employment contract deemed invalid

Is this the best cure for workplace stress?

Three tips for being a great regional HR head 
  • Harold A. Maio on 2016-01-20 8:14:40 AM

    ---73 per cent believe there is a negative stigma around depression

    I doubt that.

  • Jeannie McQuaid on 2016-01-20 9:54:00 AM

    "The survey also revealed that 74 per cent wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to their manager about their issues while 64 per cent wouldn’t give ‘depression’ as the reason for calling in sick."
    I wonder how many of these people have actually self-stigmatized their mental health issues. I have a case in progress here with an employee who has gone on leave and has refused all outreach from the company and co-workers. The support is there, the employee is "ashamed" to take it.

  • Harold A. Maio on 2016-01-20 3:53:58 PM

    Prejudice has its greatest effect when the victim internalizes and self-practices it. It takes great strength of character not to do so in the face of the constant iteration of that prejudice.

    The iteration of the "stigma" of mental illnesses is so common as to be defended by many of its claimants.

    One need only follow the Canadian press to see its constancy and many sources there.

  • Deborah Turner-Davis on 2016-01-21 3:34:02 PM

    What details are available about the study; size, study method etc. I'm curious to know how many participants in how many workplaces contributed to the data referenced here.

  • Justin Hemworth on 2016-01-27 4:17:37 PM

    As a person with mental illness I am afraid I will be scrutinized if my management was aware of my condition. That they will look at my job performance of even just the way I dialogue and see it as proof that I can't do my job.

  • Joe Labranche on 2016-02-01 4:47:51 PM

    Mental illness is still challenging for management, the employee and HR Services. We have more information which certainly helps however survey or no survey, being in HR, I have yet to see a manager not stigmatizing mental illness unless they had personal experience. To avoid any legal issues, they follow policies and labor relations advise which becomes more about the process than the individual. I unfortunately agree with Justin as the unspoken reality of managing/leading employees with mental illness still has a depreciative approach The harder it is to understand the illness and the impact on the individual and the job, the more we see the attention to the employee's performance increase.
    I would be very interested in knowing the direct impact of declared mental illness on career opportunities, layoffs, promotion, salary increase, engagement, performance reviews, etc. To collect information on the views and experiences of the employee and his/her supervisor on how the «mental illness»; deals, thinks, experiences, manages, could be very illuminating and might reveal more specifically what we need to focus on within our own organization.
    Being politically correct with the employee is very different than how it is being experienced. Managing with genuine compassion, intent and consideration is still a real challenge. The unseen part of the iceberg!!

HRM Online forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Name (required)
Comment (required)
By submitting, I agree to the Terms & Conditions