Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS -

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.”

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