A pan-island survey conducted by Mind in the Channel Islands has revealed that 94% of respondents believe there is a stigma attached to mental health issues, suggesting more needs to be done to increase awareness about, and understanding of mental health concerns.

Guernsey Mind and Mind Jersey’s findings follow a comprehensive survey into community attitudes to mental health, which was conducted last year with the support of Deloitte.

The Mental Wellbeing Survey compiled responses from 2,416 people in Jersey and Guernsey across a range of demographics.  

Throughout August, volunteers from Mind and Deloitte helped members of the public to complete the short, confidential survey. The survey was also distributed to households in Guernsey via a door drop backed by Guernsey Post.  

While 33% of respondents correctly identified that 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health issue at some point in their life, 94% of respondents agreed that there is a little or a lot of stigma attached to mental health issues.

These statistics indicate a good level of awareness of mental health issues on the islands but that there is a need to enhance understanding and education around the problem.

The survey also asked respondents to indicate whether they would approach family and friends, employers and their GP for help.

47% of respondents indicated that they would be uncomfortable talking to a friend or family about mental health concerns.

This finding supports the charities’ view that there is still a stigma attached to mental health in our communities.

In addition, 71% identified that they would be uncomfortable talking to their employer about their mental health concerns, although 69% of respondents said they would be happy to approach their GP for help.

The survey also explored the treatments respondents would consider if they faced mental health concerns. The three highest rated services were mindfulness, talking therapies and GP services; 81% of respondents believed that talking therapies were effective and 41% of respondents said they would consider mindfulness.

James Le Feuvre, Executive Director of Mind Jersey, said: ‘These survey results are important. They give us a greater understanding of how we need to shape our ongoing campaigns to increase understanding of mental health issues and the options that should be available to those who are struggling.

‘For example, Mind offers Mental Health First Aid training across both islands to encourage employers to improve their mental health awareness and provide support in the workplace. It is hoped that this will encourage more employees to feel more comfortable talking to their employer about their mental wellbeing and have a positive impact on these statistics.’

Emily Litten, Executive Director of Guernsey Mind, continued: ‘It is crucial we continue to encourage the development of a society that has a positive attitude towards mental wellbeing both within and without the workplace. These statistics provide firm markers for where more work needs to be done. Over the coming year we will continue to work in partnership with Mind Jersey and Deloitte to share resources across both islands and address the mutual needs identified in the survey.’

The research project is the first stage of a three-year commitment by Deloitte to support the mental health charities and is part of the firm’s social impact ambition, One Million Futures.

Sally Rochester, a Director at Deloitte, said: ‘We were so pleased to be involved in a campaign that puts mental health and wellbeing firmly in the spotlight. As a firm, we are committed to supporting the mental and physical wellbeing of our people, so our support of Mind’s work was a natural next step.

‘We hope that our work will assist the charities in their efforts to help more people take the necessary steps to improve their mental health.'

James Le Feuvre said of the collaboration: ‘Deloitte’s help has been invaluable in supporting us to gain an in-depth insight into islanders’ attitudes to mental health. This research will help to provide a legacy that will help as many islanders as possible to lead full and active lives within their community.’