- Nearly half (48%) of younger workers (aged 18-30) say they have experienced suicidal thoughts
- However, in organisations that are providing the right support, young workers were 37% less likely to have recent experience of a mental health challenge
92% of all workers have been touched by mental health challenges, found Accenture’s survey in partnership with workplace mental health conference This Can Happen. Younger workers in the UK are more likely to have had recent mental health challenges than their more senior colleagues and nearly half (48%) of young workers said they have experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings compared to 35% of older workers.
Despite having more experience of mental health challenges, younger workers find it more difficult to talk about their own mental health than more senior colleagues. 45% of younger workers hold back because of not having the language to express how they feel, versus 22% of older workers. Furthermore, younger workers report more feeling more pressure in their lives than older colleagues. Four in 10 workers aged 18-30 said pressure from work and concerns about their own health affected them on a daily or weekly basis, while one in three worried about the health of someone close to them (32%).
“It’s clear that many young people face challenges with their mental health before they enter the workforce and while working, and that they are affected more often than their senior peers,” said Barbara Harvey, managing director and mental health lead for Accenture UK. “Therefore, mental health must be a priority issue for employers. Businesses need to look at how they can create an open, supportive work environment which enables employees of all ages to look after their mental health, support one another, and perform at their best.”
The research found that where organisations create a supportive, open culture around mental health it makes a significant difference to the way employees feel and their ability to thrive. The incidence of employees with recent or current experience of a mental health challenge was lower in the more supportive cultures; this was especially true for younger workers with 41% having recent experience in more supportive companies, and 65% in the less supportive cultures. Employees in more supportive cultures were 4 times more likely to say that work positively impacted their mental health.
“With this survey we hope that many employers will examine their recruitment, induction and management styles to support younger members of their workforce” comments Zoe Sinclair, Co-founder of This Can Happen. “Undertaking large scale insightful research programmes that highlight the challenges faced by those entering the workforce is an integral part of what This Can Happen and Accenture are working towards.”