Workers clamp up on mental health for fear of discrimination

Sixty-two percent of Singaporeans are afraid to speak to their superiors about mental health for fear of being discriminated against, a survey has found.

The Mental Health At The Workplace study, conducted by local social enterprise Calm Collective Asia, found that Singaporean employees were uncomfortable talking to their supervisors, managers, or other relevant staff about stress and mental health.

This was backed by 53% of Singaporean employees who ranked their company’s culture of openness and psychological safety as either “very poor” or “non-existent”.

“Psychological safety creates the conditions for employees to seek help from their managers, and use the resources available to them. By increasing their mental health literacy and practising compassion, managers can positively influence the well-being of their teams,” Sabrina Ooi, CEO and co-founder of Calm Collective Asia said.

Major stumbling blocks in open discussions about mental health include the fear of discrimination, the fear of it reflecting on performance evaluations, and not wanting to be seen as weak, unproductive or lazy.

The top three resources sought by Singaporeans when it comes to how companies can address their mental health needs are flexible work arrangements (68%), paid mental wellness leave (59%) and budget for health and wellness activities (36%).

“Companies need to recognise the business case for this. Psychological safety helps boost employee engagement, performance, and retention. It’s clear that healthy people equals healthy business,” Ooi added.

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Chief of Staff Asia