“It’s well-known that unemployment can lead to mental health problems but doctors say those still in a job are suffering too” (The Scotsman, 24 August 2012)
I wish I could say that this headline comes as a surprise, but of course it doesn’t. I have seen too much evidence to support this claim over the past two years and unless and until the economy picks up, we can expect a lot more.
To summarise the austerity Insight Research Group GP opinion survey conducted recently it concludes that;
- Just because you have a job, don’t expect to escape mental health issues brought about by worrying about job security and related financial concerns.
- The recession is seriously damaging our mental health.
- Those in employment are displaying much greater levels of stress, depression, panic attacks and anxiety.
- Increased workloads and working longer hours leads to higher levels of mental illness in the working population.
- Drink and drug dependency has increased and the amount of time spent exercising has decreased.
Employers need to be aware of these potential issues and put support structures in place to mitigate the impact on their staff and the business. Sadly, this is not happening enough although there are some very enlightened employers who are trying hard.
Catherine Quinn writing in today’s Scotsman finishes by saying, “We can only hope that the recent rise in mental illness balances out when the economy is back in rude health, and perhaps when the next recession rolls around, we’ll be forward thinking enough to realise that just like any health complaint, a mental disorder is often a temporary stall in an otherwise successful career”