MORE than half of Southampton workers have not received any mental health support or advice form their employers since the pandemic struck in March, research has suggested.

The survey found 22 per workers said their mental health was worse than before the pandemic, while 64 per cent had felt anxious and apprehensive about returning to work.

The research, based on 1,500 interviews across the country, was carried out for the mental health organisation TalkOut and found 59 per cent of Southampton workers had gone without mental health support.

Nearly a third felt uncertain about the future of their job.

Twenty-seven per cent were having fewer one-to-ones with their boss, while 71 per cent said their workplace had not organised any virtual social activities.

Eighty-five per cent of respondents did not think their mental wellbeing had been their employers’ priority during the pandemic.

When asked who they would speak to if they were feeling anxious or stressed about the current situation, 20 per cent felt they would not talk to anyone and only seven per cent would be comfortable speaking to their employers’ human resources departments.

Jill Mead, chief executive of TalkOut, said: “Mental health has been on the business agenda for some time, but if there’s one thing this crisis has made clear, it’s that there is still a long way to go when it comes to providing effective support to employees.

“Unfortunately, whilst businesses were quick to adapt to social distancing and working from home, for many, the emotional wellbeing of employees was an afterthought. But the psychological strain of the crisis is impossible to ignore and whether staff have been working on the frontline, furloughed or working from home, it’s likely to have a long-term impact.

“It may seem like a daunting task but there are a number of immediate actions businesses can take to improve staff health and wellbeing. Regular communication to see how people are doing, creating safe spaces for people to talk openly, providing mental health training, and pinpointing employees to useful resources are all great starting points.

“A positive and supportive workplace can make all the difference when it comes to mental health and now more than ever, businesses have a duty of care to their workforce. In time, Britain will come to review its response to the coronavirus pandemic, but mental health can’t wait.”