Coping with the cost of stress and mental health issues at work

A recently published report shows that up to 300,000 people with long-term mental health problems leave their jobs each year in the UK and adds that poor mental health costs the UK economy up to £99bn each year.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who commissioned the report, said it showed ‘we need to take action’ adding that she is asking NHS England and the civil service – which together employ more than two million people – to implement the recommendations.

The Thriving at Work report, co-authored by Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, makes 40 recommendations about how employers and the government can better support employees to remain at work, such as through creating an online well-being portal and using digital technology to support workers in the gig economy.

Mr Farmer told the BBC: “Opportunities are missed to prevent poor mental health and ensure that employees who may be struggling get the support they need. In many instances employers simply don’t understand the crucial role they can play, or know where to go for advice and support.”

The report says employers should, among other things, create a mental health at work plan; build mental health awareness by making information and support accessible and provide good working conditions and ensure employees have a healthy work-life balance as well as routinely monitor employee mental health.

Supporting the call for better mental health care, the National Council for Hypnotherapy says: “We live in a society where great demands and responsibilities are placed on us. Today, about one in seven people are suffering from stress or anxiety at any one time in the UK. And while some people manage, more and more people are showing signs of over-anxiety, which leads to stress, which can make a significant impact on the quality of life and well-being.”

The national body, with more than 1,800 therapists across the UK, says clinical hypnotherapy is the application of hypnotic techniques in such a way as to bring about therapeutic changes with the therapists – as the external influence – assisting in activating the inner resources of a person to achieve realistic goals.

The NCH adds that mental health issues, being as common as they are, need not be a stigma and talking about concerns like stress, anxiety and such matters can go a long way towards alleviating the UK’s problem.

Hypnotherapy unlocks the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently to situations in your life that may have previously made you anxious,” says the NCH.

Mrs May said: “It is only by making this an everyday concern for everyone that we change the way we see mental illness, so that striving to improve your mental health – whether at work or at home – is just as positive as improving our physical well-being.”

Many NCH hypnotherapists offer special offers to businesses for stress reduction schemes at work and advises people whom are stressed to talk to their employer or to a local hypnotherapist to see if that this is a possibility.

Stress is one of the major reasons people take time off work, and investing in stress reduction schemes companies can increase productivity, happiness and subsequently loyalty in their employees,” the NCH says.

The NCH adds that anxiety, which can lead to severe mental health issues like depression, is often rooted in a previous experience that triggered fear or in a general anxiety and worry about the situation at home or at work. There can also be anxiety without knowing what is causing it, a general feeling of anxiety known as ‘free floating’ anxiety.

“So why is it important to reduce anxiety in your life? What difference will it make to you? Research shows that prolonged exposure to cortisol and other stress related hormones can cause memory problems, a weakened immune system, weaker bones, increased blood pressure and even reduce fertility,” concludes the NCH.

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