Mind is set to launch it’s Workplace Wellbeing Index in 2016. This will set up a benchmark to show best practice to employers. Employers will be ranked in a public index of best practice as to how well they support the mental health of their staff, including the provision of counselling, online resources and resilience training.
This comes on the heels of statistics from the HSE that show that more time is taken off work for stress, depression and anxiety than for any other illness with the average duration of time off being 23 days. These figures could in reality be much higher due to employees not giving the real reason for illness due to the stigma attached to mental illness. It is estimated that the number of days lost has increased by 24% since 2009 with an estimated costs of £100bn per year. Poor sleep, headaches, stress related mental health issues and digestive problems were amongst the problems reports by over a third of public sector staff surveyed (published in the Guardian 10 June 2015).
It is believed that stress in the workplace is being compounded by austerity measures. Doing more for less has become the norm, as has a culture of high expectations with regard to performance. Technology has also played a part with things like Smartphones blurring the line between work and leisure with the effect that many people find it difficult to switch off.
The most effective things an individual can do to prevent stress and burnout according to Teresa Mulvena (Psychodynamic Psychotherapist) are:These make the stress of work seem smaller.Have a sense of meaning and purpose outside work.
- Have a sense of meaning and purpose outside work.
- Have strong connections with others
- These make the stress of work seem smaller.
At work the most important thing is the support of an immediate supervisor who listens and sees needs. It is important for people to focus on what they can influence and change rather than what is beyond their control. So for instance people may not be able to change things about their organization but they can look after themselves outside work focusing on what replenishes them and improving on relationships. Useful knowledge for supervisors is that their support makes a high workload much less stressful.
Therapy Today Dec 2015