Recession causing stress and anxiety among 26% of employees

The recession has made more than one-quarter of employees so anxious that they dread going back to work on Mondays, a new mental health report has found.

The research by mental health charity Mind found 26% of workers’ weekends were ruined by Sunday blues and the dismay at having to return to work the next day, the Guardian has reported.

The survey of more than 2,000 adults also found that since the recession, one in 10 workers have sought support from their doctors, while 7% have started taking anti-depressants for stress and mental health problems directly caused by the pressures of the recession on their workplace.

Half of respondents also reported that staff morale was low, while some 28% said they were now working longer hours.

The numbers of people who reported having left a job due to stress rose from 6% in 2004 to 8% in 2009 and only 38% of those surveyed think their employer is doing enough to support them.

Mind has now launched its Taking Care of Business campaign, which, over the next five years, aims to improve working environments and transform attitudes to mental wellbeing at work. Businesses including BT and Axa have already pledged their support.

Mental health problems cost businesses an estimated £26bn a year, but with better interventions this could be slashed by one-third, saving the industry up to £8bn a year, the charity said.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “The emotional fallout 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.

“Investing in wellbeing doesn’t have to be expensive, and businesses who look after their staff reap the rewards in reduced sickness absence and increased productivity. Small changes can have big results, such as making sure staff take their breaks and making time to listen to their concerns. No employer can afford to ignore mental health.”

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