WORST IN UK FOR WORK-RELATED MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
WORKERS in Wales are the most likely in the UK to take time off because of workrelated mental health conditions, new figures have revealed.
Data released by the Health and Safety Executive in their annual statistical report has revealed that work-related stress, depression and anxiety have been on the rise in the last three years.
While this is true of the whole of the UK, Wales has the worst record of those taking time off work with mental health issues.
Between April 2015 and March 2018, an average of 894,000 work days a year were lost in Wales due to stress, depression and anxiety caused – or made worse – by work.
This average has been consistently on the rise, having previously been 592,000 work days (2008-2011) and more recently 743,000 work days (2011-2015).
It now means that the average employee in Wales takes 0.7 days off a year due to work-related mental health conditions.
Whilst those working in Wales are the most likely to take time off, those in London are the least likely to do so, losing an average of just 0.3 days a year.
The sharp rise in Wales does, however, mirror trends within the rest of the country.
Previous data showed that between 2011 and 2015, an average of 10.5 million days a year were lost in the UK due to stress, depression and anxiety due to the work-place.
The latest statistics show that this has now increased to an average of 13,188,000 working days a year.
It means the average employee takes off 0.5 days a year due to work-related mental health conditions – so Welsh workers are above the national average.
The data, published last week, also revealed that stress, depression and anxiety accounted for more than a third of the 30.7 million days a year being lost to work-related illness and injury.
Those are costing the UK economy an estimated £15 billion a year.
Rhiannon Hedge, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer at mental health charity Mind Cymru, said: “We know many employees struggling with stress or poor mental health don’t feel able to come forward to ask for help.
“Fortunately, forward- thinking employers are increasingly recognising the impact that work-related stress and poor mental health are having on their staff, and putting in place measures to promote wellbeing, such as flexible working hours and subsidised gym membership.”
The spokesperson also explained that organisations that prioritise employee wellbeing often find greater levels of productivity amongst staff as well as a work-force less likely to take time off sick or leave the job entirely.
“If you feel ongoing work stress is having a negative impact on your wellbeing then you should also think about speaking to somebody at work that you trust – whether a colleague, your line manager, someone in HR or perhaps your Union representative.”