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Fifth of all UK employees feel stressed

Dr Mark Winwood

Stress awareness day

Dr Mark Winwood from AXA PPP Healthcare has some surprising stats on the prevalence of mental health issues at work

“One in four people in England will experience a mental health problem in any given year and, as it’s so prevalent, no employer is immune to the problem,” says Dr Mark Winwood, director of psychological services at AXA PPP healthcare. “Managers need to be alert and attentive to spot the signs of mental ill health and actively address them. Help is at hand, however, and employers can take positive, constructive steps to challenge the stigma of mental ill health at work and support employees’ psychological wellbeing.”

  • 20% of non-exec employees feel stressed all or most of the time; this doubles to 42% for bosses (senior business managers, MDs, CEOs and owners).
  • 51% of non-execs blame their workload as their biggest cause of their stress at work.
  • 24% of workers have personally experienced a mental health problem.
  • And only 47% would tell their boss the truth if they were taking a sick day from work with stress compared with 88% who would do so if they had flu or a bad back (87%).
  • Only 41% of bosses think stress or depression (44%) are serious enough reasons for an employee to be absent from work.
  • 26% of bosses would worry about the ability of an employee in their company diagnosed with a mental health issue to do their job. 

“Building an open and honest workplace culture where information about mental ill health is freely communicated and discussed is a great way to begin. I have seen senior managers who have been open and felt able to share their own experiences succeed in creating an environment that is more accepting of mental illness. Training and supporting line managers to recognise and respond to employees affected by mental ill health will also help to give them the confidence to step in and offer their support where and when it is needed.”
 

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