The Thrive at Work report has revealed the need for a greater understanding of mental health problems in the UK workforce

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According to Opinium’s research, only 21% of UK workers feel they can discuss their mental health with a colleague whereas twice as many (42%) feel comfortable discussing any physical ailments.

The lack of transparency is usually to the detriment of the company the person works for as 84% of business leaders admit that mental health has impacted their performance at work. These findings come from Legal & General’s ‘Not a Red Card Offence’ mental health forum.

The research also found that while employees may be reluctant to disclose any mental health problems they are experiencing, 85% of respondents said they had seen improvements over the past five years. This is due to an increase in coverage of mental health stories which 97% of those surveyed noted.

A number of notable figures spoke at Legal & General’s mental health forum including former HBOS Chairman Lord Dennis Stevenson, Alistair Campbell and Legal & General CEO Nigel Wilson. Sport stars Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Olympic gold medallist Helen Richardson-Walsh also attended to share their personal experiences of mental health. Full coverage of the day can be found on Reward’s twitter page here.

Nigel Wilson, CEO, Legal & General, said: “The research from our inaugural event shows how much work still needs to be done. The fact that 84% of those who attended say their mental health has impacted their work demonstrates how prevalent this issue is. It is vital that businesses are able to spot the signs of mental ill-health early on and ensure they have the resources they need to look after any employees who might be suffering.”

“Business can learn a lot from the world of sport about dealing with mental health issues, and it was great to hear first-hand from world-renowned sports stars about the steps they took to look after their mental health. These accounts offered a strong reminder that mental health should be given exactly as much time and care as physical health.”

“Talking about mental health with colleagues is one of the most difficult conversations to have in the workplace, but by working closely with UK businesses and continuing our ‘Not a Red Card’ campaign, we hope to change perceptions and encourage more open conversations between employers and employees.”