Scope is the leading charity for disability equality in the UK and it has been researching the state of mental health amongst its staff. In a time when there is a lot of focus on mental health, and people are finally beginning to talk about it, the pioneering research and report looks at how all staff are affected, not just those living with disabilities. The organisation is now encouraging others to follow in its footsteps and put the focus on mental health.
The report demonstrated that 17% of employees at Scope identified as having a disability or medical condition – and this figure is generally in line with a national average in the UK for working-age people with disabilities. Scope hopes that by using real people’s experiences, it will be able to bring the stories to life and make them more relatable.
As a result of growing publicity and an increased willingness to talk about disability and overall health, more organisations are feeling empowered and encouraged to increase transparency about their workforces and the number of employees that consider themselves to be living with a disability.
Aside from the work that Scope has been doing to highlight the different states of mental health amongst its employees, it is also beginning to call for others to follow in their footsteps and share their own statistics on employees’ mental health, and indeed to publish data of their own. Scope believes that sharing of experiences is key to building transparency and removing prejudice surrounding some common mental health ailments. It believes that this would help employers learn more and understand that barriers are sometimes inadvertently put in place in work premises, and see how removing them can make companies more inclusive.
Among the information published by Scope is its evidence that businesses taking a more open stance on disability can adjust, improve, and make their workplaces more accessible to everyone.
The most important change is that people are beginning to talk about mental health in the same terms as other conditions and it is beginning to be acknowledged and recognised in the same way as physical ailments, with the taboos around disability starting to diminish too.
In the future, Scope hopes that employers will share details on training and steps that are being taken to break down barriers and change perceptions. Whilst there is still a lot of work to be undertaken, the momentum is building and businesses are going in the right direction.
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