Financial squeeze linked to mental health problems

May 17th, 2010 - 12:47 pm ICT by ANI  

London, May 17 (ANI): Many workers have sought medical advice for stress and anxiety following the recession, says a UK survey.

The survey of 2,050 workers found that the post recession period has seen an increase in stress levels and mental health deterioration due to work pressures and job security worries.

Seven percent said they were prescribed medicines to help them cope.

Many have had overtime cut, worked longer hours, or worried about job security.

MIND believes mental health issues will soon become the biggest cause of work-related absence.

Nine per cent had been to their GP as a direct result of pressure related to the financial squeeze, and 7 pecent were prescribed medicines like anti-depressants to help them cope.

One in five said work stress had made them physically ill, and one in four had been reduced to tears at work because of unmanageable pressure.

Carlene Brown found herself under pressure to work hours of overtime every week in her sales job in Birmingham.

“It felt like there was a big black cloud over me,” the BBC quoted her saying.

Her company was unsympathetic when she took time off, and eventually made her redundant.

“It was such a relief,” she said, “I don’t think you ever get over depression, and I felt very bitter, but I have learned to live with it.”

Mind is calling on companies to improve the atmosphere in workplaces and show more understanding about mental health problems.

“Working conditions have been incredibly tough for the last couple of years, ” said Mind’s chief executive, Paul Farmer.

“It’s more important than ever that businesses look at how they can manage stress levels and improve the working environment for all their employees.”

Many employers have now introduced measures to combat this depression amongst workers. They have started counselling sessions, or included other activities that employees can take to - such as vegetable gardening - as a break.

“It doesn’t have to be costly,” said Paul Farmer, “and it can really improve the morale of a workplace. There’s a strong business case to take these measures.”

Neil Carberry, head of employment policy, said: “The key thing is developing understanding among fellow employees and line managers on the issues.” (ANI)

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