Informa Markets

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September 25, 2012

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Campaign aims to combat bankers’ stress

Highlighting how work-related stress is affecting financial services and what employers can do to help are the focal points of a new campaign launched by Legal & General.

Entitled ‘Stress in the City’, the campaign follows the release of Legal & General’s own claims statistics, which show that 42 per cent of all claims in the financial sector are for mental-health illnesses.

It is estimated that 10.8 million working days were lost in 2010/11 across all sectors, as a result of mental-health issues such as stress, depression and anxiety. Over the next four months, the insurance firm will be highlighting the problem of long-term sickness absences in the financial sector by revealing new data and displaying posters in London’s main train stations.

Speaking during the second reading of the Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill on 14 September, Charles Walker, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Mental Health, congratulated Legal & General for addressing mental health and tackling stigma “particularly in the City, where there is a sort of macho culture, in which people deny any weakness in case their colleagues think the worse of them”.

He also called on the Government to “work with employers to promote the agenda of ‘No health without mental health’ and to celebrate those who take a lead”.
Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Diane Buckley, managing director, group protection, Legal & General said: “Over the past year, the financial-services sector has been under increasing pressure. Mounting regulation, and trying to deliver ‘more for less’ are all taking their toll. Employees are trying to juggle a busy home life with their working life, and stretching their budgets to go further. All of this adds up to a lot of stress.

“What we are doing is raising awareness of the increase in stress-related absences and saying to employers that they have a role to play in ensuring the mental well-being of their staff in the workplace.”
Chair of the International Stress Management AssociationUK Jenny Edwards said: “Managing stress in the workplace is not just a nice-to-have policy, but a necessary requirement to reducing the current rise in mental-health problems, particularly within the financial-services sector. The effects of stress on the individual will also affect moral and teamwork within an organisation, frequently resulting in presenteeism, which is 1.5 times more costly than absenteeism.”
Describing the campaign as “a watershed moment in the battle to tackle stigma”, Jonathan Naess, founder of workplace mental-health charity Stand to Reason said: “Further to the partnership and co-production between Legal & General and Stand to Reason, this is, to my knowledge, the first time any enlightened or leading-edge corporate has allocated marketing ‘dollars’ to promote healthy messages about how to support people with stress and mental-health challenges at work, and enable them to achieve their full potential.”

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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11 years ago

No Bob! You are not being dispassionate – well, not about the fat cats anyway.

Much of the employees stress we see is down to money issues because bankers wanted roast goose instead of golden eggs.

The problem is that the ones that are still getting richer on others misery really don’t care because the bank staff at the bottom end of the food chain will be the poor buggers that get all the hassle and stress and not them!

11 years ago

Employees are trying to juggle a busy home life with their working life, and stretching their budgets to go further. All of this adds up to a lot of stress.

Bugger me, are we supposed to feel empathy for a situation that was brought about by these bandits.

Many only have a job because the rest of us bailed them out.

What about all the other poor sods now unemployed because of banking banditry, I suppose their stress is less note worthy perhaps?

Or am I being totally dispassionate?

11 years ago

Bob, rather uncharitable comments about our banking friends – but true. It is a shame that other respected organisations have not got involved because occupational stress affects many industries and not just bankers. However without explicit legislation I don’t believe that stress will be taken seriously and certainly not in this present climate where most workers are happy to have a job.