Campaigners call for stress to be taken as seriously as physical issues
Employers should treat stress and mental health problems as seriously as physical safety, according to a new report to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.
The report by the Mental Health Foundation claims almost three quarters (74%) of people have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
Around a third (32%) of adults said they had experienced suicidal feelings as a result of stress.
And one sixth of people (16%) said they had self-harmed as a result of feeling stressed.
The survey was commissioned from YouGov and is thought to be one of the largest and most comprehensive studies ever carried out in the UK, with more than 4,600 people surveyed.
It also found 81% of women said they felt so stressed at some point over the last 12 months that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope, compared with 67% of men.
In addition, 83% of 18-24 year olds said this compared to 65% of people aged 55 and over.
The Director of the Mental Health Foundation, Isabella Goldie, said stress is one of the “great publish health challenges of our time”, but it is still not being taken as seriously as physical health concerns.
“Stress is a significant factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression,” said Ms Goldie.
“It is also linked to physical health problems like heart disease, problems with our immune system, insomnia and digestive problems.
“Individually we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us.
“We also need to change at a societal level,” she added. “This includes ensuring that employers treat stress and mental health problems as seriously as physical safety.
“We are also asking for well-being days to be provided to public sector workers as part of reducing the pressure on those who work hardest to look after us.”
To read the full report by the Mental Health Foundation, click here.
Sleep and Fatigue: Director’s Briefing
Fatigue is common amongst the population, but particularly among those working abnormal hours, and can arise from excessive working time or poorly designed shift patterns. It is also related to workload, in that workers are more easily fatigued if their work is machine-paced, complex or monotonous.
This free director’s briefing contains:
- Key points;
- Recommendations for employers;
- Case law;
- Legal duties.