NEWS & RESOURCES

Stress Awareness Month: Tackling Work-Related Stress

April marks Stress Awareness Month, and the Health and Safety Executive are encouraging employers to actively manage work-related stress and mental health issues.

Impact of Work-Related Stress on Workforce Health

During the recent announcement of the HSE’s annual statistics in November 2023, it was reported that out of 35.2 million working days lost in 2022/23, 17.1 million days were attributable to work-related stress, depression, or anxiety. This represents 49% of all sick days and averages 19.6 days off per worker.

The Growing Issue of Mental Health in the Workplace

Poor mental health is predicted to only continue, especially given the cost-of-living crisis. We would urge employers to put employee wellbeing at the top of the people agenda and for it to underpin the strategic HR plan. Not only is it the moral thing to do, but identifying appropriate measures that can help combat it will help the business to lower sickness absence rates, improve productivity and avoid unnecessary staff turnover.

Cost-Effective Strategies to Reduce Work-Related Stress and Enhance Mental Wellbeing

Employers can implement several cost-effective strategies to mitigate work-related stress:

  • Train line managers on dealing with mental health at work, including short and long term absence
  • Introduce an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
  • Train employees to become Mental Health First Aiders
  • Introduce Wellbeing Ambassadors for people to access wellbeing support
  • Link up with local gyms and other health providers to provide discounted membership rates
  • Include mental health in your Health and Safety Policy, or have standalone policies such as a ‘Health and Wellbeing Policy’ or a ‘Financial Wellbeing Policy’.

Legal Obligations Under the Equality Act 2010

Under the Equality Act 2010, mental ill health can be considered a disability, which means that in those cases where it does, an employer is legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments. Reasonable adjustments could be to the job role, working environment, or the employee’s terms and conditions such as a change of hours.

Managing Risks and Legal Compliance

If mental ill health is not managed effectively (or at all), employers can face serious tribunal claims in respect of health and safety and employment breaches. Acas guidance, along with the information we share on the ‘News & Resources‘ section of our website for managing sickness absence of this type, will support employers in mitigating risk from a tribunal, as far as is reasonably practicable.

Educational Resources and Support

Last year, we ran a webinar on mental health in the workplace and addressed some of the common queries employers have in this area. You can watch it back on here.

Here are some helpful articles that can also assist you in supporting mental health at work:

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