Magazine article Times Higher Education

Secret Suffering as Mental Health Stigma Silences Anxious Voices

Magazine article Times Higher Education

Secret Suffering as Mental Health Stigma Silences Anxious Voices

Article excerpt

Fear of appearing weak may discourage staff and students from disclosing illness. Jack Grove writes.

University staff are failing to report mental health conditions, with just one in 500 confiding in employers, a study has found.

Just 250 academics from a workforce of 181,180 disclosed mental health problems in 2010-11, according to a report by the Equality Challenge Unit.

The study, Equality in Higher Education: Statistical Report 2012, published on 20 November, also found that just 490 professional and support staff out of 200,605 employees had reported such illnesses.

With one in six Britons suffering from some form of depression or anxiety at any one time, according to Department of Health figures, the disclosure rates represent a clear case of under-reporting, said Cary Cooper, distinguished professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University.

"I suspect individuals do not want to show weakness or vulnerability," said Professor Cooper. "There are very few occupations where people feel safe enough to report something because there is a stigma associated with mental health - and it is clearly something we have not overcome in academia. People feel it might affect their promotion chances or the credibility of the scientific work they do."

The report also found that just one in 150 students - 0.7 per cent - disclosed mental illnesses to their higher education institutions in 2010- 11.

Gary Loke, head of policy at the Equality Challenge Unit, said the survey showed that many people in the academy with mental illness were suffering in silence. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.