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Epidemiol Psychiatr Sci. 2011 Mar;20(1):73-81.

Employers' attitudes to people with mental health problems in the workplace in Britain: changes between 2006 and 2009.

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Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK.



This study examines whether there have been improvements in mental health-related knowledge, attitudes and workplace practices among British employers between 2006 and 2009.


In 2006, the Shaw Trust surveyed 550 British employers. Telephone interviews ascertained their knowledge, attitudes and practices related to mental health in the workplace. This study compares their findings with a repeat survey of 500 employers in 2009.


In 2006, 33% of employers reported that none of their employees would develop a mental health problem during their working lifetime, dropping to 7% in 2009. In both years, less than a third of companies had formal policies on stress and mental health. In 2006, 68% agreed they would be flexible in offering adjustments to someone with mental ill-health, rising to 87% in 2009. In 2006, 76% agreed that British industry needs more support to improving the way it deals with mental health in the workplace, increasing to 88% in 2009.


While employers' mental health knowledge significantly improved and many offer 'reasonable adjustments', there is a need to formalise these arrangements and for further training and support. Resistance to the Equality Bill amendment banning pre-employment health questions, with exceptions, is predicted based on employers' preference for pre-employment disclosure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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