2019-20 Employee Rates of Mental Illness due to Work Related Stress
Anxiety and depression disorders were already a significant problem but continue to have a noteworthy impact on the UK workforce. The HSE identified that common mental health problems accounted for 51% of reported ill-health in the workplace. However, stress, anxiety disorders and depressive episodes accounted for a whopping 55% of the total number of lost working days. This does not take into account the lost productively from presenteeism, where people are ‘working’ but struggling with mental health symptoms (e.g. poor concentration, lack of initiation, social avoidance, etc.) in work. This is particularly frustrating when these conditions are perfectly treatable.
You can read the full article from the HSE on “Work-related stress depression or anxiety statistics in Great Britain, 2020” here, showing just how important workplace mental health really is.
How can you tackle work-related stress in the workplace?
While the data is a refresh the reasons cited for work-related stress are the same and unchanged; management of workloads, lack of managerial support and organisational change continue to be the primary causative factors.
We require proactive and reactive approaches – bookending mental health strategies with our employee engagement activities, to prevent these issues arising, and providing evidence-based intervention to treat with long-term solutions. Here you can see employee outcome results for GPs with mental health problems or police officers with PTSD.
A mental health strategy has to overlook references to fruit and mindfulness (not to be confused with MBCT) if it is evidence-based.
An evidence-based strategy along with prevention and treatment requires a detection activity. If treatment is not clinically indicated then an exit pathway for general support is required (e.g. social support, HR interventions, Occupational Health for physical illness interventions).
Punctuated throughout the wellbeing strategy are the activities that promote mental health needs – helping to optimise performance, reduce stigma, develop awareness, address professional themes, and signal buy-in from the top.