Employers are failing to take staff mental health issues seriously enough, with more than half claiming that anxiety, stress and depression are not good enough reasons to take time off work.
According to a survey of 1,822 UK employers undertaken by online therapy and coaching marketplace Mentaline.com, a huge 64% did not consider anxiety as sufficient grounds for taking leave, 59% felt the same about stress, while 52% were equally dismissive about depression.
Jesper Buch, the service's founder, said: "Mental illness should always be taken seriously and it was quite shocking to see that so many employers seem to disregard issues such as depression and stress. Many of these issues can actually stem from working environments so it's important that employers acknowledge the problems and fully understand them."
To make matters worse, however, just over one in five respondents also indicated that they would be less inclined to hire someone with a history of mental illness, while 68% said they would be more sympathetic to staff suffering from physical rather than mental problems. Just less than two in five suggested that they would struggle to take mental illness seriously.
But Buch warned that favouring job candidates with no history of mental illness amounted to discrimination and was against the law in most instances. "Unfortunately, mental health is still a very taboo subject in many people's eyes but that needs to stop. Education and raised awareness of the issues surrounding mental health is the only way to do so effectively," he said.