Tomorrow, the 1st November, is National Stress Awareness Day 2017 (NSAD17)
National Stress Awareness Day 2017 (NSAD17)
National Stress Awareness Day was launched back in 1999 by the International Stress Management Association (UK) to highlight the problem of stress, including in the workplace. National Stress Awareness Day 2017 is being held on the 1st November 2017.
Mental Health At Work
A recent report by the Birmingham Hospital Saturday Fund (BHSF) entitled “Breaking the Cycle” found that 1 in 4 UK workers had taken time off due to work related stress during the last year, that two thirds had been kept awake at night by stress, and that half felt unable to approach their employer about the issue. The report described the growing problem as a stress “time bomb”.
The Managing Director of BHSF Employee Benefits, Brian Hall, stated: “This report paints a devastating portrait of how professional and personal stress-triggers are directly leading to mental health issues and absenteeism on an unprecedented scale, which is, unfortunately, being chronically under-estimated by employers and is a potential time-bomb under workplace productivity. Employees and their employers are caught in a vicious cycle, which begins with a gradual build-up of stress, both inside and outside work, leading onto job performance issues, absenteeism and ultimately long-term sick leave.”
The Stevenson-Farmer Review
In January 2017, the Prime Minister, Theresa May commissioned Dennis Stevenson and Paul Farmer to conduct an independent review in to the problem of work related stress. The review was launched in order to make recommendations on how employers can better address and manage mental health issues in the workplace, so as to enable employees to remain in and “thrive” in their positions, by providing improved support.
Stevenson and Farmer published their report, called “Thriving at Work“, on the 25th October 2017. The report found that a staggering 300,000 employees lose their jobs due to a mental health issue each year, which costs the UK economy between £74 billion – £99 billion per annum, of which £33 billion – £42 billion is borne by employers. The report makes 40 recommendations, and calls upon employers to commit to six core standards around mental health. They include putting in place a mental health plan, having clear management responsibilities, improving employee awareness about mental health, and monitoring employee mental health on a regular basis.
Paul Farmer stated: “We found that in many workplaces, mental health is still a taboo subject and that opportunities are missed to prevent poor mental health and ensure employees who may be struggling get the support they need. In many instances employers simply don’t understand the crucial role they can play, or know where to go for advice and support. The human cost of failing to address mental health in the workplace is clear. Workplace mental health should be a priority for organisations across the UK. Every employer in the UK has a responsibility to support employees with mental health problems and promote the mental wellbeing of their entire workforce.”