A study of 2,000 adults found nearly four in 10 worry the person asking the question is only making small talk and doesn’t really want to hear about a mental health difficulty.
A quarter are too embarrassed to open up and give a more honest answer while 17 per cent worry it would make the other person like them less if they did.
And a fifth fear it would make the other person wish they hadn’t asked the question.
Talk about you wellbeing
The research was commissioned by Santander to encourage people to talk about their wellbeing after it emerged 66 per cent have struggled with mental health because of money issues.
And with the UK furlough scheme now set to end, it’s feared people will continue to suffer – including furloughed workers who may now be facing redundancy.
As a result of this - and the significant number of adults who have struggled due to their finances - the bank has teamed up with mental health charity, MIND, to provide Santander staff with training and guidance to help them have ‘the right conversations’ with customers experiencing mental health difficulties.
Josie Clapham, director of financial support at Santander, said: “Many of us don’t want to ‘burden’ others with how we feel, or we worry that we’ll be judged or viewed differently if we’re honest about a mental health struggle.
“We know that money worries can often be the cause of mental health problems and for some people the challenges of the last eighteen months are not over.
“We want customers to know that if they need to talk to us, we’re here ready to support them with a sympathetic, non-judgemental ear as well as practical solutions for their finances.”
Are you okay?
The study also found when asked the question, “Are you okay?” people were three times more likely to open up about a physical difficulty they had experienced, than a mental health difficulty.
But in reality, 69 per cent want to hear an honest answer when they ask someone if they are okay.
And 79 per cent would even ask again if they felt like they weren’t hearing the truth.
The study found that after asking if someone is okay, 43 per cent would feel ‘glad that they asked’ if they were given an honest answer about how the other person really felt.
Another 45 per cent would be pleased they felt they could be open while 36 per cent would feel humbled that they had confided in them.
Carried out through OnePoll, the study found half of adults would make a conscious effort to check in more frequently with someone if they knew they were having mental health struggles.
Wouldn't admit it to their partner
It also emerged, more than half (52 per cent) wouldn’t admit to not feeling okay to a partner, while 53 per cent would also hide their true feelings from their close friends.
However, following the coronavirus pandemic, 59 per cent of respondents are now more likely to honestly answer a query about whether they were okay – if they weren’t.
Despite this, almost a fifth of adults (18 per cent) struggle to talk about their innermost feelings, even with those closest to them.
Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at MIND, said: “We know there is a strong link between money and mental health – and for some, the pandemic and the economic recession has hit both, hard, with the impact likely to be felt for a long time to come.
"This research shows that people still find it difficult to talk about their mental health, but we need to continue having these important conversations.
"There are many people ready to listen non-judgementally and signpost to support if needed.
"Mind is pleased to be delivering training to Santander to help the wellbeing and mental health of their colleagues and customers.
"If you need information and support about your money, your mental health, or both, visit mind.org.uk/money.”