At the end of October, the HSE released its annual executive containing statistics on Work Related Stress, Depression or Anxiety 2018. The report noted that work related stress, depression or anxiety was more significant in sectors such as education, health and social care, and public administration and defence, under the collective industry of public service.
The Health & Safety Executive defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand places on them’. Employees can suffer from stress as a result of a number of different factors such as work-load, relationships, demands, or feelings of lack of support. Whilst stress is not classified as an illness, the consequences of extreme stress and pressures can lead to illness. If you can identify employees under stress at work and support them in addressing the cause early, the impact of the stress can be minimised, leading to a better working environment. The HSE’s Talking Toolkit can helps employers to get the conversation started, promoting a positive approach to dealing with stress to make employees feel more comfortable talking about their situations and feelings related to work pressures.
With LFS reporting 1.4 million workers with new and long-standing work-related illness, 44% of these fell under the category of stress, depression or anxiety.
This can lead to an average of 25.8 working days lost per individual. More statistics can be found in the HSE Executive Report, a link is provided below.
Particularly of interest is the number of working days lost, combined with the common conception that work-related stress, depression or anxiety is an issue to be kept with Human Resources. Whilst human resources can be of help for employees to talk to, most employers don’t consider work-related stress to be a matter of Health and Safety, yet it should be treated the same way. Being proactive about work-related stress, and in a similar way to other factors within Health and Safety, providing training, planning and support for employees can help them to cope. Where stress has been identified or is foreseeable at work, a risk assessment should also be carried out by employers with five employees or more, in order to fulfil their legal duty to protect employers from stress at work.
Keep an eye out for upcoming changes, as we're soon launching a Mental Health First Aid course. This course is designed to help you manage the wellbeing of your staff and minimise the impact of mental ill-health.
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