Stress back on the agenda?

It seems concerns about stress have been put on the back burner (or is that now “kicked into the long grass”) and I have seen little demand for stress management training in recent years compared to 10 years ago.

That may not be a bad thing if the focus has shifted to developing resilience and stress-proofing, and even better if organisations have improved the well-being of staff and tackled the main causes of work-related stress.

However the mental health charity MIND says that stress and mental health have become taboo subjects in the workplace. For its new initiative “Taking care of business” it polled over 2,000 employees on-line in England and Wales.

  • 4 out of 10 said they felt stressed at work and the same proportion said that stress was a taboo subject at work
  • 2 out of 3 felt under more pressure because of the recession
  • 1 in 5 said they felt they couldn’t talk about it in case they lost their jobs

MIND estimates that with greater awareness and better support businesses could save a third of the £26 billion lost each year to sickness absence and lost productivity.

They suggest this could be done by treating mental ill-health in the same way as physical ill-health by encouraging more openness and being more supportive and less discriminatory. They also want businesses to treat staff well-being as a priority.

Professor Cary Cooper, well-known for his work on stress in the UK, said that stress at work had always had a stigma attached to it and now it’s worse; ” Because of the downturn people are feeling job insecure and more than ever they’re frightened of admitting they’re not coping …… (and) the more we can convey it’s not uncommon the better. 20% of people will have or are suffering from depression”

He also makes the point that even if people are mildly depressed or have  bipolar disorder they can still function effectively and given appropriate treatment recover.

See also: Stress affects men too” and “Stressful days are here again”

Scientists have unzipped clues as to why effects of stress can be passed on from generation to generation

10 thoughts on “Stress back on the agenda?”

  1. “FYI India has the most depressed people in the world according to the WHO. Over a third of Indians suffer from Major Depressive Episodes. Generally people living in wealthier nations were less happy and more depressed than those in poorer ones.”

    Given that the population of India is 1.21 billion people I would like to know who and HOW this survey was carried out, particularly as millions live in poverty and are illiterate (how big was the sample group to be able to extrapolate such a figure?)

    1. The study was published in the BMC Medical Journal. The WHO sponsored the study which involved interviews with almost 90,000 people in 18 countries.

      The study also found that the average age of depression in India is31.9 years compared to 18.8 years in China and 22.7 years in the USA.

      Netherlands was the second placed country followed by France and the USA.

  2. As my late mother was wont to say “stress is a middle class syndrome and the curse of the working class”…………she worked in the cotton mills in Lancashire for many years which were dirty, noisy (most workers were deaf by the age of 40) and cared very little for health and safety……..she lost the top of her finger because of unprotected machinery but no compensation in those days. A whole industry has grown and been pedalled by psychologists around stress…………and lets face it there is plenty money to be made at the expense of the naive and gullible. Stress is being on the front line in Afghanistan or Iraq dealing with incoming and IEDs not sat in a bloody office feeling sorry for yourself because your manager has spoken “harshly” to you. Oh, sorry that is bullying isnt it………………please God save me from this lot……………..

    1. Yes things were tougher then and people survived. Unfortunately the effects of hard living on future generations is only now being understood. Now scientists believe they have discovered how the effects of stress passes on from generation to generation.

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