The statistics reveal a worrying situation concerning the impact of stress in the workplace. 12.5m working days lost due to anxiety, depression or work related stress last year has had an enormous effect on reducing productivity.
Aside from the implications for profitability, businesses must be prepared for the legal risks that can and do ensue. Employers have obligations under health and safety legislation and employment law. As lawyers, we are seeing more cases where depression is treated as a disability under the Equality Act 2010 and employers are facing more claims for compensation for disability discrimination. This can be disruptive and costly.
Bringing in mental health first aid training is just one of the measures that UK plc must take seriously if this growing problem is to be addressed. Reminding workers to take regular breaks and checking that full holiday leave is being taken are other sensible steps.
With one in six adults experiencing depression, anxiety or issues relating to stress at any one time – and with 12.5 million working days lost due to work related stress, depression or anxiety last year – it’s important for HR professionals to ensure that employees are equipped with the knowledge and support to manage their own stress levels and feel confident helping others who may need support.