Employers ‘need to catch up’ on mental health says IET’s Lizzie Truett

This summer, we spoke to students around the country about what they want out of a graduate job. When it comes to mental health, what they want is quite simple – companies to be honest and progressive about how they approach the subject. 

Lizzie Truett is the Young Professionals Engagement Manager at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). She works with young engineers from around the world and we caught up with her about the findings. 

Over the past few years, universities have come under huge pressure to provide better mental health services for their students. However many academic institutions are doing far more than your typical graduate employer. 

“I definitely think they need to catch up [on their approach to mental health],” said Truett. 

I do think they face unfair bias as a result of poor mental health

“Mental health is still perceived as a weakness in some workplaces yet is something that increasingly affects people’s performance at work. You wouldn’t come to work with a stomach bug or a migraine, why is feeling mentally unwell any different? Employers have a hard balance to strike, how do you ensure you get the work done but not at the expense of your employees’ health?”

The majority of students we spoke to in our focus groups told us they feared being discriminated against if they revealed any history of mental health problems. 

“I do think they face unfair bias as a result of poor mental health,” said Truett. “They are unfairly deemed to be unreliable and weak and I think a lot of work needs to be done to change these opinions – but this certainly won’t happen overnight. 

“The awareness of mental health has increased dramatically over the last few years so I hope this starts to change biased opinions in the near future.”

Lizzie Truett was on the steering group for our recent research project, The Work Issue. We’ll be discussing one of those themes in an upcoming event, Time to Talk? The event looks at what graduate employers can do to better support their applicants and employee’s mental health and wellbeing. To register for a ticket drop hello@hypecollective.co.uk an email. The event is a breakfast on 20th of November in central London.

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