The IP Inclusive, CIPA and CITMA survey for Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 has recently been published on the IP Inclusive website. The respondents were patent and trade mark professionals at every level of their organization.
More about the survey can be found here.
There are some positive signs but still many areas of concern. Jonathan’s Voice is committed to work with the profession to implement the survey’s recommendations. We express our thanks to Andrea Brewster, Lead Executive Officer of IP (Intellectual Property) Inclusive for the enormous amount of work that has resulted in this comprehensive and important survey.
The following paragraphs are extracts from the Executive Summary of the report.
Current mental health: the previous 12 months
More than half of respondents to the paralegal and main surveys had been adversely affected by stress in the preceding twelve months. At least a fifth of respondents to all three surveys had been
affected by depression, and at least two-fifths by anxiety. Paralegals reported the highest levels, students the lowest. However, there still appear to be barriers to disclosing mental health problems to employers. For well over half of respondents, their employers did not know about, or knew only part of the story about, their mental health problems. Over 80% of non-paralegal respondents had not taken any time off to tackle the problems they were experiencing. Workloads, the desire not to let people down, a sense of personal inadequacy and workplace culture were the main reasons cited for this.
The reported levels of stress and other forms of mental ill-health cannot be good for our people or our businesses. They will reduce morale, and therefore productivity; increase the risk of mistakes; and exacerbate employee turnover. Our recommendations this year are much the same as last. IP Inclusive, CIPA, CITMA and individual employers within the patent and trade mark professions should continue to work together to:
- Encourage open dialogue about mental health and reduce the associated stigma.
- Improve workplace cultures to be more inclusive and supportive of those with mental health problems.
- Adapt working practices and workload management to reduce stress levels.
- Improve signposting to relevant resources, both within and outside the sector.
The executive summary and full report are available by clicking on the links below: