Workers say healthcare employers are not doing enough to support work-related stress and mental health issues, new survey shows
Most healthcare workers don’t feel supported by their employers when it comes to their physical and mental wellbeing, according to a new survey released today. In the study by Westfield Health, 84% of healthcare employees surveyed believe their employer could do more to support the physical and mental wellbeing of employees.
There were more than 480,000 reported cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in the UK in 2015/16, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). This equated to 11.7 million working days being lost as a result of the condition, and there continues to be over 11 million working days lost due to stress at work every year.
Stress, anxiety and depression are the biggest cause of sickness absence in our society. This #StressAwarenessMonth do more support the #MentalHealth of your staff. Our Workplace Wellbeing toolkit can help pic.twitter.com/U8bmYX40mo— MHFA England (@MHFAEngland) April 16, 2018
Prolonged periods of stress can lead to mental health problems like anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts as well as physical problems. Although treatments like health check ups, CBT and chiropractic treatments are provided by the NHS through National Insurance contributions, 81% of healthcare workers surveyed said that the NHS does not have enough budget for these wellbeing services. This is despite the fact that the majority of those surveyed said they would use services like health check ups, emotional wellness services and access to a gym, if they were provided.
“From sleep to nutrition and mental health to physical fitness, there are so many elements that contribute to your overall wellness, happiness and healthiness. In the healthcare industry, staff are particularly prone to being sedentary for long periods of time without a break at work, which puts them at serious risk of developing health problems such as heart problems, diabetes, cancer and weight gain” Commercial Director of Westfield Health David Capper said.
“It’s more than free fruit in the office and discounted gym memberships. As business leaders, we need to create a culture where our people’s health and wellbeing is prioritised to drive confidence, capability, inspiration and ultimately prosperity”.
Common signs of work-related stress are lack of confidence, feeling negative, increased sensitivity, mood swings, sleeping more or less than usual, headaches, aches and pains, avoiding social situations and lack of concentration, among others. The thought of work should not make an employee feel anxious - if it does, it may be time to address the situation.
Work-related stress can be reduced by using self-help relaxation techniques, taking time away from work, changing the work environment or with counselling approaches like CBT. Speaking to a colleague, manager or HR department can also help employees cope with a stressful work environment. Recognising what’s causing stress at work can help workers to deal with the situation in a healthy way.