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Attitudes towards MH at work.

Lilbubble

Lilbubble

Well-known member
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
475
Hi.

New to the forum so apologies if I've missed a related thread already started.

I'm wondering what experience others have had at work towards their mental health problems. Personally my experience has been shocking.

Colleagues - there is a few that show a personal level of understanding/empathy to some degree, others/most are very distant or completely avoid me unless it's work related and they need to talk to me specifically. I accept that much of this could be attributed to how my own avoidance - I've become practiced at hiding in plain sight.

Managers - for the most part I've received lip service. Some completely avoid dealing with my health issues, their awkwardness and lack of understanding/ignorance is obvious, if it doesn't fit in a box to be ticked, they just don't know how to deal with it. Senior management is much the same so hardly surprising it's like that down the ladder.

I'm currently in the process of an employment tribunal over a long running dispute with my employers but regardless of the outcome I'm considering looking for a new job in the near future but worry that other employers attitudes regarding MH are similar (or worse). Is it better the devil you know?

I'd appreciate the views/experiences of others on the matter.

Thanks xx
 
Drooo

Drooo

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Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
876
Location
UK
It probably depends a lot on the size and effectiveness of the given company's HR department and all of the policies that come with it, and the nature of the work. You're going to get a much better deal working in an office job for a large company than you are for say, a small building company.

My last employer had no HR department because it was a small organziation, that meant that wellness in the workplace wasn't discussed at all and there wasn't really anywhere to go to if I wanted to. Two of the three managers directly above me were known to suffer with mental illness but when it came to my own, and one of them spotting my MH deteriorating but only mentioning it to someone else and not speaking to me about it, nothing was done. I was left to go downhill, eventually going off sick, and then resigned. I simply didn't know I was ill until it was too late.

The work environment was as you'd expect. With no HR department, no rules and regulations to follow and things to adhere to, people were open to talk about such things in whichever way they chose, which meant people like myself were left to hear negative comments about MH related things often.

I don't think all that much has changed with regard to MH stigma. People still shy away from and take the piss out of those with MH problems. It only seems to change when there are workplace rules ensuring that what is said and done cannot be discriminatory. I don't like too many rules and regulations but I can see how this would help in this regard.
 
Cazcat

Cazcat

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Staff Member on Leave
Joined
Sep 12, 2013
Messages
2,423
Hi, I think this varies widely even within the same organisation sometimes. I am very lucky that my colleagues and managers have a good understanding of mental health problems (a large number have worked in mental health, and a large number have also suffered with mental health problems) I have always been very open talking about my mental health problems and the general culture in my team is the same. Move across to my friends team with a different line of management and she is finding that there is little understanding or compassion and certainly little flexibility. I think that if you are not happy in your work place it can have a very negative impact on your mental health. We spend a lot of our time at work. It might be worth looking at what else is available. There's no garuntee that things will be better but they could be. If this is a specific thing you want to know in advance you could ask about it in interview. That would give you some idea of their attitude. And if they have a negative attitude and don't give you the job then you probably didn't want to work their anyway.
 
exyz

exyz

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Joined
Jun 14, 2017
Messages
2,773
Hello Lillbubble and welcome to the forum.

I'm sorry that you have had such a rough time at work. Well done for going to Tribunal, that takes a lot of courage and it is stressful for you, but I admire you standing up for yourself.

I hope that you have some support in doing so. The Tribunal panel are very supportive and will listen.
Unfortunately, despite all the legislation, attitudes in a lot of workplaces are dreadful still.

I think that the larger employers and also the public sector, local authority etc, are more with it and educated and can usually recognise MH as a condition you manage. It does not prevent people from being able to work necessarily if managed, lots of people are able to work and are good employees.

I don't think it is anyone's business in the workplace to know about your MH unless absolutely relevant.
HR knowing about it is one thing, but imo, generally people are pretty ignorant. Hiding in plain sight, unfortunately, is probably the only thing to do in most places.

I hope that things go well for you in the future and best wishes for the Tribunal. :peace:
 
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Lilbubble

Lilbubble

Well-known member
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
475
Hi.

Thanks to all for your replies.

I agree that the stigma connected to MH hasn't changed much but I think it's due more now to people shying away from the matter rather than ignorance. A little theoretical knowledge alone doesn't give people practical skills.

I do work in a large open plan office for a nationwide employer. They appear on the surface to adhere to health and wellbeing regulations (lots of boxes ticked). In my experience they fail to be proactive in recognising the need to ensuring the knowledge and skills to help are fed down the line of management where it would be of benefit to staff, regardless of level, enabling them to recognise and manage those with MH issues.

My MH isn't the reason for the tribunal but the actions of my employers have impacted massively on it. If that had been recognised as a secondary factor and I'd received some sort of support with it, I'm sure the impact could have been greatly reduced.

Regards x
 
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