The headline in the metro last Friday (29/03/19) read “A nation of pill poppers”. It went on to explain that the use of anti-depressants has almost doubled in the past ten years. Whilst the article suggested that Brexit and austerity may have contributed to the spike in depression, it is also likely that a rise in awareness of mental health problems has also contributed.
According to the HSE, stress causes up to 40% of all work-related illness. Whilst it is not an illness in itself, prolonged stress can lead to an array of mental and physical illnesses, including anxiety and depression. Stress related illnesses account for more than 14 million lost work days every year and the cost to the UK economy is calculated as being somewhere between £74 and £99 billion every year.
Whilst pressure at work does not always cause stress, how we deal with it varies from one person to another. What is common however is the causes of workplace stress. The HSE believe that these causes can be broken down into six categories:
- Demands –workload, work patterns and the work environment
- Control – how much say a person has in the way they do their work
- Support – through encouragement, sponsorship and the resources provided by the organisation, line management and colleagues
- Relationships– both positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour
- Role – whether people understand their role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles
- Change – how organisational change (large or small) is managed and communicated in the organisation.
Due to the number of people contacting ACAS for help, they developed a framework for positive mental health. It identifies the roles for employers, managers and individuals, and sets a shared goal of positive wellbeing and productive workplaces.
Work is clearly not the only cause of stress. However, the effects are certainly felt in the workplace. It is therefore common sense that employers do all that they can to help their employees by providing advice and guidance when the pressures of day to day life get too much.
It is for this reason that THSP have provided an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to our staff for more than ten years.
You can have a similar level of support for your employees for only £1 per person per month plus VAT. Call us on 03456 122144 and speak to one of our staff.
Consultant Director, Health and Safety