Workplace mental ill health is worse in the public sector than in the private sector, according to a new study from mental health charity Mind.

The recent survey of over 12,000 employers found a higher prevalence of mental ill health in the public sector, as well as a lack of support available to those experiencing a mental health issue. Public sector workers were more likely to say their mental health was poor compared to their peers in the private sector (15% compared to 9%), and were more likely to say they had felt anxious at work on several occasions over the past month (53%).

Survey respondents reported that they had taken nearly three days off sick, on average, in the last year as a direct result of experiencing mental ill health – whereas private sector employees had taken just under one day on average.

However, the survey results also revealed that public sector workers were more likely to be aware of mental health issues, and were more likely to disclose their experiences of mental ill health.

The UK public sector employs over 5.4 million people, with around 3 million of those employed by the government.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “As a nation our expectations for better mental health for all are higher than ever. It’s vital that when people do speak out they get the right help and support at the right time.

It’s clear there is still a long way to go in both the public and private sector to address the gap between people asking for support and actually getting what they need.”

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