Is the UK’s mental health in crisis?

With Mental Health Awareness Week kicking off today, healthtech startup Mynurva has commissioned an independent survey of 2,000 UK adults to uncover how much support is currently available for full-time workers who suffer from mental health problems.

The survey found that two-thirds of Brits don’t think GPs have the time or training to effectively treat mental health problem and that the government is not doing enough to support suffering people.

It also found that 32% of all UK adults in full-time employment have suffered from mental health problems in the workplace. Of those:

  • 54% are not aware of any formal support structures within their organisation to help with their mental health symptoms
  • 49% do not feel there is an appropriate culture in their workplace to enable people to open up about their mental wellbeing
  • Over half (54%) have struggled to find time in their working day to attend medical appointments
    • This figure rises to 66% among workers aged 18-34
  • 40% of workers have missed one or more scheduled medical appointments concerning their mental health issues because of work commitments
    • For Londoners, this figure rose to 60%
  • As a result, 34% of workers feel their mental health issues have become more severe in the past 12 months

Mental health may have appeared as one of the top priorities on the UK Government’s recently-unveiled long-term plan for the NHS, but when it comes to supporting people with mental health problems, new research has revealed just how pressing the issue is.

Time constraints and work pressures emerged as another key issue. Over half (54%) of full-time employees who struggle with problems like anxiety, depression and stress said they struggle to find time in their working day to attend medical appointments. Indeed, work commitments have forced 40% of employees to miss one or more scheduled medical appointments in the past.

Worryingly, Mynurva found that 34% of workers with mental health issues feel their conditions have become more severe in the past 12 months.

Dr Zain Sikafi, CEO and founder of Mynurva, said: “Mental health is an incredibly serious issue, and while there has been a push by the government to address the matter, more action is urgently needed. Mental Health Awareness Week is a great initiative that helps encourage awareness, but more action is clearly needed.

“For those full-time workers suffering from symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression, the negative stigma surrounding mental health can make it incredibly difficult for suffers to seek help for their conditions. What’s more, it is concerning to see that employees feel they are too busy to be able to leave work and get help for their mental health problems.

“The research shows the need for a fresh approach to mental health, and I encourage employers to review the current systems they have in place to support the wellbeing of their staff. Doing so will not only encourage their employees to access the treatment they need, but also contribute to a more productive, transparent and positive working environment.”

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