Status of UK mental health strongly linked to workplace issues

A new examination of the status of mental wellbeing in the country according to online searches has been revealed*.

The findings represent what UK citizens have searched online most often between January 2015 and February 2019. Results reveal a strong link between mental wellbeing and the workplace.

Mental wellbeing is often described as one’s mental state – how they are feeling and can cope with day-to-day life. Over the last few years the concept has gained traction. Yet, the average person won’t speak about it openly. On this basis, the research was commissioned to uncover how people feel; as reflected by their online searches.

The findings reveal that amongst the most popular terms searched related to UK mental wellbeing was ‘presenteeism’,, with searches increasing by 113.5 percent on average yearly, from January 2015 to February 2019. A particularly significant increase was felt from 2017 (1,500 monthly average searches) to 2018 (2,242 monthly average searches). On the flipside, ‘absenteeism’ decreased on average in 2018. However, search volumes were higher for ‘absenteeism’ than ‘presenteeism’ every year.

Search volumes for ‘January Blues’ have also increased steadily year-on-year with a whopping increase from 2018 to 2019 (423 percent on average). This is despite the increasing popularity of ‘no policing company cultures’ in the workplace, where employees decide more freely things like the holidays they take, and where/when they decide to work. Arguably, these should have helped tackle early signs of stress and seasonal disorders like January Blues.

On a more positive note, the average yearly search volume for the term ‘stress’ has been decreasing year-on-year. For the keyword ‘depression, search volumes also decreased significantly in 2016 and 2018. However, in 2019 this figure rose by 5.4 per cent and the search volume for both keywords is still incredibly high (average yearly in 2019: 122,500). So, whilst we’re seeing progress, people still seem to be resorting to the internet to resolve or consult about mental wellbeing issues.

Hannah Sims, Product Manager at Perkbox Medical, comments,

These findings evidence just how important it is to properly cater for the needs of your employees – physically, financially and emotionally. Its effects are truly felt on the wellbeing of individuals, inside and outside of work. It’s a huge responsibility that we must learn to own as employers. Whilst it’s all very well to put together initiatives, if we’re not owning the responsibility fully, i.e. coupling the initiatives with good management – for example in the case of unlimited holidays – little will be achieved to help improve people’s mental health.

*the examination is a partnership of Perkbox and SEMrush.

Interested in workplace wellbeing? We recommend the Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Forum 2019 and Mental Health Awareness training day.





Aphrodite is a creative writer and editor specialising in publishing and communications. She is passionate about undertaking projects in diverse sectors. She has written and edited copy for media as varied as social enterprise, art, fashion and education. She is at her most happy owning a project from its very conception, focusing on the client and project research in the first instance, and working closely with CEOs and Directors throughout the consultation process. Much of her work has focused on rebranding; messaging and tone of voice is one of her expertise, as is a distinctively unique writing style in my most of her creative projects. Her work is always driven by the versatility of language to galvanise image and to change perception, as it is by inspiring and being inspired by the wondrous diversity of people with whom paths she crosses cross!

Aphrodite has had a variety of high profile industry clients as a freelancer, and previously worked for a number of years as an Editor and Journalist for

Aphrodite is also a professional painter.