International Stress Awareness Week Image

International Stress Awareness Week Begins

As we highlighted in our recent article, this week is International Stress Awareness Week which runs from the 5th November 2018 – 9th November 2018.

International Stress Awareness Week

International Stress Awareness Week also includes National Stress Awareness Day 2018, which will be held on the 7th November 2018. National Stress Awareness Day was launched back in 1999 by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) (UK) to highlight the problem of stress, including in the workplace. In terms of the events taking place during this week to highlight the problems relating to stress, Carole Spiers, the Chair of ISMA (UK) states that “Stress Awareness Day 2017 was one of our most successful yet, with a number of new events, both live and online, all helping to spread our message…..As ISMA celebrates Stress Awareness Day’s 20th anniversary, we’re going to devote the whole week 5th – 9th November to reducing the taboo associated with stress and mental health. Our theme for 2018, Does Hi-Tech Cause Hi-Stress?, will look at two sides of technology: on the one hand, the stressful effects of the 24/7 lifestyle that technology has brought, and on the other, the positive contribution that technology can make, helping us manage our lives better. There is no doubt that technology impacts on all our lives, and it is appropriate that ISMA is involved in a debate about the positive and the adverse effects it can have, and how we can use technology to our advantage.

Report Highlights Financial Burden On Employees With Mental Health Problems

As International Stress Awareness Week begins, a new report by the The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI) entitled “Too ill to work, too broke not to” highlights the financial burden upon employees with mental health problems of a long period of absence from work. The MMHPI also point out that these money worries are a major cause of presenteeism, as employees decide in their own minds that it is better to work whilst ill, than risk sustaining financial hardship through a prolonged absence. The MMHPI make the following recommendations in their report:-

  • Make sick pay, including statutory sick pay, more flexible to increase the scope for the employee to reduce their hours through part time sick leave and a phased return to work
  • Increase the “level of Employment Support Allowance (or the ‘limited capacity for work’ element of Universal Credit) paid during the 13 week ‘assessment’ period to the same amount as Statutory Sick Pay.”
  • Increase “access to income protection products, particularly for people who have pre-existing conditions.”

The director of the MMHPI, Helen Undy, states: “For thousands of people in the UK sick days are a luxury they just can’t afford. Many with mental health problems are finding themselves too ill to work, and too broke not to – choosing between causing harm to their mental health by working, or harm to their finances by taking time to recover. It’s a vicious cycle, ultimately forcing many out of the workplace entirely. We want to see the government and employers taking urgent steps to improve sick pay, access to benefits and other income protection so that a mental health diagnosis is not the first step out of the workforce.”

International Stress Awareness Week starts today, the 5th November 2018, with National Stress Awareness Day taking place on Wednesday 7th November 2018.

Posted in General Employment Law, occupational stress, workplace stress and tagged , , .