Mental Health Awareness at Work

A new report by the government’s Health & Safety Executive, shows that there are 1.4 million working people suffering from work-related ill health in the UK. The new health and safety figures also showed that there were 541,000 workers suffering from a new case of work-related ill health in 2017/2018.

During this period, there are 30.7 million working days lost due to work-related ill health and workplace injury and £15 billion was the estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions.

The report shows that working days lost per worker due to self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety shows no clear long-term trend and working days lost due to stress, depression or anxiety account for 57% of all working days lost due to ill health.

There are six main areas of work design which can effect stress levels. These are:

1. Demands
2. Control
3. Support
4. Relationships
5. Role
6. Change

What are the signs and symptoms?

Often, people don’t recognise the symptons of work related stress and instead adopt a ‘coping’ mechanism. Work-related stress can manifest itself and can be categorised into various symptoms which include;

  1. Insomnia leading to tiredness
  2. Irritability or outbursts of anger
  3. Low mood
  4. Consume too much caffeine or alcohol
  5. Low productivity
  6. Regular absence and higher sickness rate
  7. Accident-prone
  8. Headaches
  9. Backaches
  10. Weight loss or gain

The main question that every colleague of any organisation wants to know is, what can you do to minimise stress levels and how do you get help if you are struggling with workplace stress?

We suggest 6 simple ways to deal with work-related stress:

1. START YOUR DAY OFF RIGHT

After scrambling to get the kids fed and off to school, dodging traffic and road rage and gulping your morning coffee, many people arrive at work already stressed, and more reactive to stress at work. Start your day right with good nutrition, proper planning, and a positive attitude, you may find the stress of your workplace rolling off your back more easily.

2. BE MORE ACTIVE

As of October 2018, over 1.4 million of us believe that regularly going for a swim has significantly reduced the symptoms of mental health problems like anxiety and depression. Around 3.3 million British adults with mental health problems swim regularly, yet many of us are still in the dark about its mood-boosting benefits. However, what is clear is that physical and mental health are closely linked, so swimming can only be beneficial. There are many reasons why you should take up swimming to help with stress and mental health.

  • You set your own pace
  • Being in the water is therapeutic
  • It releases feel-good endorphins
  • It soothes stress
  • It gives you space to breathe
3. BE COMFORTABLE

Being comfortable in your own work space is essential to maintaining your mental health. Back and muscle conditions are the second most prevalent work place illness. Back and other muscle injuries, are the second-most common work-related illness, with over 450,000 workers suffering from new or long-standing musculoskeletal conditions. Even small things like office noise can be distracting and cause low-grade frustration. Do what you can to ensure that you’re working from a quiet, comfortable and soothing work space.

4. TAKE A WALK

Many people are feeling ill effects from leading a sedentary lifestyle. One way you can combat this, is to get some exercise during your lunch break and perhaps take short exercise breaks throughout the day. This can help lift your mood, and get into better shape.

5. LISTEN TO MUSIC ON YOUR DRIVE HOME

Listening to music brings many benefits and can offer an effective way to relieve stress after work. Combating the stress of a long day at work with your favourite music on the journey home can make you less stressed when you get home, and more prepared to interact with the people in your life outside of work.

6. TALK TO SOMEONE

If you are feeling stressed at work, talk to someone, for example your manager or trade union representative. If you feel you are unable to speak to someone in your organisation, speak to your GP or local occupational health team, or possibly gain private and confidential support from someone such as ACAS.

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