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A NEW campaign to tackle work-related stress and poor mental health is being launched today, as officials fear that the situation risks becoming a health and safety crisis.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said that while the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is yet to be fully understood, mental health issues are now the main reason given for sick days.
More than 17 million working days were lost last year as a result of stress, anxiety or depression, said the HSE.
Its campaign aims to bring about a “culture change” in Britain’s workplaces, helping businesses to ensure that psychological risks are treated equally with physical ones.
Chief executive Sarah Albon said: “Work-related stress and poor mental health should be treated with the same significance as risks of poor physical health and injury.
“In terms of the affect it has on workers, significant and long-term stress can limit performance and impact personal lives.
“No worker should suffer in silence, and if we don’t act now to improve workers’ mental health, this could evolve into a health and safety crisis.”
The HSE urged employers to promote good working practices, including having an open environment where workers can share any concerns and discuss options to ease pressures.
The regulator has partnered with several organisations, including the charity Mind, to highlight the triggers of stress, the legal duty of employers and how to manage the risks.
Mind’s Dane Krambergar noted that in a recent survey of more than 40,000 staff working in 114 organisations, two in five said that their mental health had worsened since Covid-19 hit.
“This campaign couldn’t have come at a better time, given the impact the pandemic has taken on employers and staff,” he said.
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