Study: Britons lack mental health rights

June 6, 2006 at 10:27 AM
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LONDON, June 5 (UPI) -- British employers are not meeting the mental health needs of workers, a new report says.

About 80 percent of large employers have no specific mental health policy, according to a report by the Shaw Trust. And in a survey of 550 managers, only three percent said their organization had any policy to help workers cope with the mental health impact of their jobs, the London Times reported.

An overwhelming majority of managers surveyed also greatly underestimated the percentage of workers who experience mental illness, and a significant portion said they would lose trust in a worker who took a long leave of absence for mental health reasons.

The result of this lack of awareness is increasing incidence of stress and depression, which cost employers in Britain almost $17 billion per year in lost productivity, the study says.

"Mental health is probably the last workplace taboo. Society has confronted discrimination on the basis of age, gender, race, sexual orientation and religion, but there is a worrying lack of understanding about mental health and it is not often openly discussed," Tom Cooper, managing director of Shaw Trust told the newspaper.

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