1 in 3 employers have not talked to staff about their mental health over the past year

New research by Acas has found that over a third (35%) of British employers have not spoken to their staff about their mental health and wellbeing over the past year during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Acas commissioned YouGov to ask businesses in Britain about whether they had personally talked to their staff about their mental health in the last 12 months during the pandemic. The poll found that:

  • nearly 3 in 5 (59%) had spoken to staff
  • over a third (35%) had not talked to staff
  • 3% did not know or could not remember
  • 3% preferred not to say

The publication of the results coincides with Time to Talk Day, which aims to support people to have conversations about mental health.

Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said:

“The pandemic has been a challenging period for everyone and it is great to see that most employers have chatted to their staff about their mental health and wellbeing.

“However, a third of employers have not spoken to their staff about their mental health over the past year. Taking the time to talk openly about mental health is vitally important as it can avoid problems building up and lead to improved morale at work.

“Acas has good advice and training on how to support and manage mental health and wellbeing at work, which includes tips on how to start those conversations.”

Acas advice for employers on managing mental health during COVID-19 includes:

  • be approachable, available and encourage team members to talk to you if they're having problems
  • keep in regular contact with your team to check how they are coping
  • address any individual communication preferences such as asking team members if they prefer to talk over the phone, through video meetings or by email
  • respect confidentiality and be calm, patient, supportive and reassuring if a staff member wants to have a chat about their mental health
  • look after your own mental health and get support if you feel under more pressure than usual – this support could be a colleague at work, a mental health network or a counsellor

Read Acas's full advice on COVID-19 and mental health at work

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Background notes

  1. Acas commissioned YouGov to poll senior decision makers in a representative sample of British businesses. The survey was carried out online and the total sample size was 2032 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18 January and 1 February 2022. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc and have been weighted and are representative of British business size.
  2. Participants were asked: "Thinking about talking to your staff about their mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, in the last 12 months (since January 2021) have you personally spoke to your staff about their mental health and wellbeing?"

The results were:

  • 59%: Yes
  • 35%: No
  • 3%: Do not know or cannot remember
  • 3%: Prefer not to say

3. Acas provides a range of related information, including:

4. For more information, visit Time to Talk Day 2022.