Campaign stresses harmful effects of workplace anxiety

Stress must be recognised as a workplace safety issue, according to a campaign encouraging awareness of stress’ destructive effects.

National Stress Awareness Day on 4 November coincided with Unite’s assessment that many of its members were suffering the effects of bullying, job uncertainty and Government cuts. It said each could have an adverse effect on mental health, adding that in 2014/15, more than a quarter of a million people reported that their stress, depression or anxiety was caused or made worse by their work.

Unite said many were working with employers to help prevent occupational stress. To mark National Stress Awareness Day – now in its 17th year – Unite encouraged people to share workplace initiatives designed to alleviate symptoms.

A spokesperson said: “It is a fact that a unionised workplace is a safer and healthier workplace because union members have the confidence to raise and resolve workplace health and safety issues, including stress.”

The Health and Safety Executive devotes a webpage to the issue, including diagnosis, steps to tackle the effects, advice for businesses and case studies.

Lara Murray, an employment law specialist at Palmers, said: “As with bullying, both the atmosphere and the effects on the victim can be difficult for an employer to see. Therefore there is not always a stark, visual reminder of the standards to be upheld. To discuss the issue and the ways Palmers specialist support can revitalise practice at your business, please contact us.