Mental Health at Work: George’s story

The Mental Health at Work 2018 report, in conjunction with Mercer, found that 30% of managers report do not have any workplace facilities or services that could help wellbeing and mental health. George told us how this affected his mental health.

George works in logistics at a manufacturing plant. Following difficulties managing workplace stress, George faced the threat of disciplinary action and took time off work to cope.

George, 39, has taken periods of sickness absence on and off in the past. The most recent one was two months ago. He feels the workplace is the main contributor to his mental health issues. Long hours and a busy work schedule mean that he often missed out on opportunities to socialise. “I was feeling pretty down about anything, any form of creativity had gone and it was very, very difficult to enjoy anything…it was difficult to strike up a conversation as I was worrying.”

George met with his line manager after an unmanageable increase in workload led to high levels of stress. He expected “a reassessment of responsibility” but was told to “hang in there”. When another employee left, George was given more work and was faced with the threat of disciplinary action if he did not comply. “They didn’t give a s**t about my quality of life or my ability to see friends.” George feels that mental health issues are likely to be “brushed under the carpet” until there is a “full-blown crisis.”

The stress that George experienced led him to take sick leave in order to cope with his mental health. Now back at work, George says things have improved, but plans to resign if a similar situation arises in future.