When people hear the phrase "workplace discrimination", many immediately think of race, gender, or disabilities. Another form of workplace discrimination that is equally concerning but less often discussed, is the discrimination against people with mental illnesses.
Many people experience mental health discrimination in today's business world. Despite the fact that a quarter of the global population experiences mental health issues, many employers and employees hold negative attitudes toward these issues. A 2009 study of British businesses reveals that 40% of employers consider mental health problems a "significant risk" to their companies. Another study by the National Mental Health Development Unit found that more than half of UK employees would feel uncomfortable mentioning personal mental health problems to their managers.
Recently, corporations and mental health charities have started teaming up in the fight against mental health discrimination. One of England's leading campaigns challenging the mental health stigma, Time to Change, encourages businesses to hold company workshops and activities that open up the discussion on mental illness. Businesses can also pledge their commitment to the cause online. So far, more than 380 organisations have signed up. Participants include the University of Liverpool, Porchlight, Network Rail, and HSBC. If your business is interested in signing the pledge or learning tips and strategies for addressing mental health discrimination, you can find out more at the Time to Change website:
By joining the movement against mental health discrimination, businesses can improve their work environments, the lives of individual employees, and global perceptions of mental illness. This is a great opportunity for companies interested in increasing their corporate social responsibility efforts, and it is convenient because it involves problems that occur onsite.