It seems as if employees have been masking the real reason they call in sick, out of a perceived fear of retribution.
A recent report from BHSF has found that 42% of staff have called in sick to work feigning a physical illness, when in fact they’re suffering from mental health issues.
In fact, when employees call in sick it’s actually stress (21%), anxiety (18%) and depression (20%) that’s affecting them, not the flu or a migraine.
“The scale of this problem is huge – and it is being massively underestimated by employers, with employees feeling that they have to mask the issues they are facing,” added Dr Philip McCrea, chief medical officer at BHSF Occupational Health.
“Although shocking, these findings don’t surprise me – this research must provide a reality check for employers, who need to be more proactive, focusing on early intervention.”
24% of employees believe that if they revealed the real reason they need a day off, they’d be judged or not taken seriously. And even though HR leaders have made great strides in removing the stigma from mental health, 27% of employee think admitting it would be a taboo, with 36% worried about what their colleagues would think.
The report also found that 27% of employers would ideally like to talk to their staff about mental health, with one quarter of employees craving more annual leave to deal with stress and depression.
“Schemes focused on early intervention could include introducing mental health first aiders or providing additional training support for managers to identify key signs to look out for,” continued Phillip.
“These are just two simple ways to open up the conversations about mental health, but this activity will contribute to changing company culture, and creating a more open environment promoting good mental health.”
How are you helping your employees deal with mental health? Tell us in the comments.