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Workplace pressure contributes to mental health issues for majority of business leaders

07 Feb 2019

manWorkplace pressure is a major contributing factor to mental health issues among business leaders, according to a new survey from the Institute of Directors, published on Time to Talk Day 2019. Among the 500 directors and managers polled, more than half said they had experienced poor mental health that was in part connected to factors such as a lack of work life balance and heavy workloads. 

According to the respondents, greater engagement with peer networks was seen as the best way to address the problem, with over-two thirds saying they had shared or would be willing to share their personal experience with mental health issues with peers outside their organisation. The IoD is today [Thursday] relaunching its mental health campaign, updating its range of resources for businesses with an emphasis on the wellbeing of directors themselves and holding multiple events across the country on the subject.

The survey also revealed that although most business leaders had been approached by staff about mental health problems, almost half said mental health and wellbeing was not actively promoted in their organisation, while only a quarter were able to offer mental health training for management. The main reason for this was a lack of appropriate information and guidance, outstripping lack of time and lack of financial resources put together, and fewer than a quarter felt there was enough clear support available for employers.

Visit the IoD Mental Health hub

Edwin Morgan, Interim Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“Mental health is an issue that needs to be taken seriously at all levels of business. There has rightly been a growing focus in recent years on companies paying much greater attention to the wellbeing of their staff, but these figures are a reminder that mental health issues can affect anyone.

“For entrepreneurs and senior directors, life often revolves around work, and when a problem arises on the job, it can feel all-encompassing. With the success or failure of the organisation on their shoulders, some directors find it hard to prioritise their own wellbeing.

“It’s crucial that smaller firms in particular have access to straightforward information and guidance on what they can do to address mental health in the workplace, for the benefit of staff and leadership alike. While it is becoming more common to talk about these issues at work, and many businesses are investing in programmes to boost wellbeing, there is still a battle ahead of us. The world will not become any less complex or uncertain in the coming years, and to be able to adapt and prosper, companies must start with the resilience of their people.”

Full survey results:

507 respondents, conducted between 14 November 2018 - 8 January 2019

Have you ever experienced mental health issues, which were in part triggered or exacerbated by workplace pressures?  

Yes

57%

No

40%

Prefer not to say

3%

 

Which of the following do you think have the biggest negative impact on business leaders’/entrepreneurs’ mental health?

Lack of work/life balance

67%

Heavy workload

54%

Issues with staff/colleagues

44%

High level of responsibility

38%

Business-related financial difficulties

37%

Working in an isolated environment

36%

Lack of formal support available in the workplace

36%

Lack of informal support available in the workplace

32%

Lack of support available outside of the workplace

21%

Difficulty hiring the right people

18%

Other

10%

Don't know

1%

 

Which of the following do you think would have the biggest positive impact on business leaders’/entrepreneurs’ mental health?

Greater engagement with peer networks, such as other directors, on the issue of mental health

56%

Implementing flexible work arrangements (i.e. remote working, job-sharing etc)

46%

Training in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)

37%

More medical/occupational health support in the workplace

35%

Other forms of in-work training

18%

Other

13%

Don't know

5%

 

Have you shared/would be willing to share your experiences with mental health with peers outside your organisation, such as other directors?  

I have shared my experiences in the past

34%

I haven’t shared my experiences, but I would be willing to

37%

I haven’t shared and wouldn’t be willing to

16%

Don't know

13%

Prefer not to say

1%

 

Have any of your staff ever approached you with mental health concerns? 

Yes

59%

No

39%

Don't know

2%

 

Do you offer mental health training for the management in your (primary) organisation?  

Yes

26%

No

61%

Don't know

8%

N/A

5%

 

Why do you not offer mental health training for the management of your (primary) organisation?

Lack of appropriate information and guidance

46%

Lack of time

24%

Lack of financial resources

21%

Other

23%

Don't know

17%

We don't feel that workplace mental wellbeing is employers' responsibility

4%

 

How is mental wellbeing promoted in your (primary) organisation?

My organisation does not actively promote mental wellbeing

42%

Other internal communication channels

30%

Physical activities (e.g. group exercise)

23%

Intranets and online staff forums

22%

Therapeutic activities (e.g. yoga, meditation therapies)

19%

Other internal communication channels

12%

Don't know

4%


Do you think there is enough clear support and resources (i.e signposting to charities/government advice, peer-to-peer support frameworks) available for employers to support mental health in the workplace?

Yes

23%

No

66%

Don't know

10%

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Euan Holmes, Press Officer

020 7451 3280


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