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Why we're more likely to share health worries with colleagues than partners

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Emily Reynolds
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Many of us feel more comfortable telling colleagues our health concerns. But why?

We all have certain people we turn to when we need someone confide in. Friends, family, partner: whoever it is, most of us have someone we know we can rely on when the going gets tough. 

But, it turns out, sometimes the people we turn to are slightly more surprising – especially when it comes to health. According to a new survey from Bupa Health Clinics, half of UK employees say they’re more likely to tell their colleagues about health concerns than they are a partner or loved one. 

46% of employees said they preferred to talk about their health with a colleague – many because they feel their colleagues are “less likely to worry” than family members, friends or partners. 

Employees are most likely to discuss stress in the workplace, with sleep, anxiety and weight also popular in-office topics. Those working in sales, media and marketing and IT are most likely to open up.

Nearly 60% of those surveyed also said they would visit a GP at work if they could, and a third said they would access health assessments through their employer if it was offered to them. 

 “It’s good news that people are opening up about their health and wellbeing with colleagues and we’re not shying away from increasingly common concerns such as stress and anxiety,” said Bupa Health Clinics Medical Director Petra Simic.

“With us spending so much time at work, the research shows the positive impact employers can have on the health of their workplace. From creating a culture where people feel comfortable talking about their health through to offering them a health assessment, this will go a long way to creating a healthy and productive working environment.”

So if you’re feeling run down, you could do worse than reaching out to a colleague – it could make all the difference.

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Emily Reynolds

Emily Reynolds is a journalist and author based in London. Her first book, A Beginner’s Guide to Losing Your Mind, came out in February 2017 with Hodder & Stoughton. She is currently working on her second.  

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