• International Workplace
  • 15 October 2019

Call for employers to create a mental-health-safe work environment

Employers need to create a work environment in which employees can talk about their mental health, according to new research carried out by TalkOut. In order to achieve that, attitudes towards mental health in the workplace need to change.

The research found 65% of managers thought talking about mental health at work was a sign of weakness, and 84% felt employees risked missing out on a promotion by admitting mental health issues.

Similarly, 68% of workers believe that telling their boss they are suffering from some form of mental health issue would impact on their job.

Jill Mead, co-founder and Managing Director of TalkOut, said:

“HR managers and business leaders must take responsibility for ensuring their organisation has a mentally healthy environment where people can talk about mental health in the same way they talk about physical health without fear of consequences.

“If we’re going to make any progress, mental health needs to stop being seen as a taboo, particularly in professional environments, and there needs to be an understanding and acknowledgement that people with mental health conditions can often thrive at work with the right support.”

The TalkOut campaign recommends the following steps for employees to start talking openly at work:

  1. Talk out as soon as you start to feel your mental health and wellbeing are being affected.
  2. Don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings at work.
  3. Ask your manager if they have some time to talk.
  4. Maybe talk to a friend first.
  5. Choose a time and place where you know you won’t be interrupted.
  6. Think of somewhere that’s comfortable for you to have the conversation.
  7. Imagine how you will start the conversation.
  8. Be honest about the way you feel.
  9. Talk about the support you need from work.
  10. Next steps – talk through what more support you need.


The findings of this research coincide with the launch of a new campaign, designed to get people to talk more about mental health.

The royals, Harry and Meghan, together with William and Kate are leading a government campaign that promises to revolutionise mental health.

Every Mind Matters is an NHS resource that will provide personalised advice for people struggling with stress, depression or poor sleep.

Millions of Britons can use the website to receive a tailored 'action plan' containing clinically-proven steps to improve their mental health.