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Stress, depression & anxiety in the workplace

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

The shocking figures behind work related ill-health.

The HSE has just released up to date figures for work related ill health, and it isn’t pretty. There are 1.8 million overall cases of work related ill health, with just under a million of those being due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety cases.

Just stats though? Since way before the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, we have had a duty to ensure the welfare of our employees, so why are we still now not doing enough to look after our people? There are many that would argue that to ensure the mental wellbeing of employees is a new thing, but actually, it is only our awareness and interpretation of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act that has changed.

Bearing in mind that all through the publication, the concerning figures relate to ‘work related’ ill health, why are we brushing this under the carpet still? For me, the emphasis HAS to be on preventative action being taken. Ensuring a good work environment, with achievable goals and not unachievable deadlines, ever increasing workloads and routine 60 hours weeks.

It is not enough to try to help when things go wrong. We are making our people ill from coming to work.

So what’s the solution?

Preventative measures can come in a number of forms, and refreshingly, many of these are extremely low cost and easy to implement, people just often don’t know where to start. That’s fine, but there are companies out there that do know, and seeking assistance can often be a step in the right direction. Ensuring the right work environment and expectations from employees will underpin your procedures, along with ensuring there is first aid support for mental health, an open door policy, and confidential support lines. It’s also about raising awareness of how to help ourselves and each other. But also, wellbeing days/ activities can be incorporated where means allow.

And if that’s not enough of a case to empower anyone into wanting to ensure they have the correct measures in place, the financial losses are huge. During the 2021/22 reporting period, 17 million days were lost due to work related stress, anxiety and depression, with 372,000 new cases reported. 10.3 billion pounds lost in stress, anxiety and depression caused at work.

Our time to act has passed but the earlier we start the more chance we have of looking after our people and reducing how many we make ill.

If you need any help or advice regarding workplace health, safety, welfare and wellness, feel free to contact us on 01827 488021

Written by: Hayley Tollervey

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