Healthy living * Mental wellbeing

Work stress made worse by recession

Work stress made worse by recession One in five 'physically ill'

Workplace pressure during the recession has had a "devastating effect" on the mental well-being of employees, new research has found.

A survey of more than 2,000 UK adults for mental health charity Mind found 1 in 10 workers have visited their GP and 7 per cent have started taking antidepressants for work related stress and mental health problems.

The findings coincide with recent government statistics which show the number of prescriptions for antidepressants has risen from 35.9 million in 2008 to 39.1 million in 2009.

The survey also found that 28 per cent of people questioned said they were working longer hours as a direct result of the recession, and a third said they were competing against each other at work due to the threat of losing their jobs.

In addition, almost half of those taking part in the survey said they had lost sleep due to work and 22 per cent had developed depression over the course of their careers.

One in five said that work related stress had made them "physically ill."

The results of the survey have been published to mark the launch of Mind's Taking Care of Business campaign, aimed at increasing awareness of the effect work can have on mental well-being.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: "Working conditions have been incredibly tough for the last couple of years, and the emotional fall out of the recession doesn’t just centre on people who have lost their jobs, but on people who are struggling to cope with the extra demands of working harder, longer hours, and under more pressure as their employers battle for survival.

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

The campaign has the backing of big businesses such as BT and AXA, trade unions such as the TUC as well as Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne, who said: "You've got to look after your staff. If you haven't got staff, you haven't got a business. It's as simple as that."

This article was published on Mon 17 May 2010

Image © Mikael Damkier -

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