UK EAPA encourages greater support for mental health initiatives
The UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association welcomes the findings of a new study on knowledge, attitudes and behaviour regarding mental illness in England, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.
“Great strides have been made in recent years to minimise the stigma associated with mental health issues and the UK EAPA backs the work of EAP providers and employers to support the Time to Change campaign and other workplace initiatives that seek to offer support or increase awareness of mental health issues,” says Andrew Kinder, chair of the UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association.
According to this new study of trends in public knowledge, attitudes and behaviour toward people with mental health problems between 2009 and 2012, there has been an 11% reduction in discrimination. The study identifies an increase in the number of employers accessing counselling as a preventative measure – from 49% in 2009 to 58% in 2010.
However, according to Andrew Kinder, there is still a long way to go:
“It’s fair to say that the prevalence of mental health in the workplace does not match the number of people seeking support. Perhaps this is due to individuals’ perception and understanding of mental health issues: a lack of information and awareness certainly affects peoples’ attitudes and has a significant impact on the number of people seeking support from services such as Employee Assistance Programmes.”
Eugene Farrell, Executive Committee member of the UK EAPA agrees:
“Stigma and fear mean that people are less likely to seek support from their employee, with people reporting stigma as being worse than their condition, according to this latest study. And with the impact of the current economic climate to be considered, it’s also likely that people don’t want to seek help for fear of affecting their employment prospects.”
The UK EAPA calls for continued campaigning to further reduce stigma and discrimination relating to mental health issues in the workplace and will be working with its members to promote line manager understanding of mental health and increase awareness of the ongoing support that EAPs can provide for the management and resolution of this type of issue in the workplace.