Tissue of lies: A refusal to engage with the effects of mental illness on males is dangerous; what starts off as mild depression or mild anxiety can easily escalate to something as serious as suicide. Picture: ISTOCK
Tissue of lies: A refusal to engage with the effects of mental illness on males is dangerous; what starts off as mild depression or mild anxiety can easily escalate to something as serious as suicide. Picture: ISTOCK

Only one in six employees with mental illness say they feel comfortable disclosing their condition to their manager, according to an online survey conducted by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag).

The results highlighted the extent of workplace stigma about mental illness, said the advocacy group, which released the results of its survey to mark world mental health day tomorrow (October 10).

The survey included 499 participants, of whom four fifths (79%) were women. Just under a third of the respondents (29%) said they had not told anyone about their mental health issue.

A little over half (56%) of the respondents said they had taken time off work during the previous year due to their mental illness.

"The results of this study emphasise that more education and training is needed for managers, who may want to help, but they don’t feel well enough trained or equipped to do so," said Sadag founder Zane Wilson.

Sadag has previously conducted research on depression and the workplace, which found one in four employees had been diagnosed with depression.

"Depression affects cognitive functioning such as decision making, concentration, memory and problem-solving abilities. Depression negatively impacts productivity. If an employee has depression but is at work, they are five times less productive than an employee who was absent due to depression," said psychiatrist and clinical psychologist, Frans Korb.

Please sign in or register to comment.