DOCTOR CALLING: By Dr Kevin Hill
Lincolnshire people and businesses are being urged by health leaders at South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to take action on stress following Stress Awareness Day, which took place on Wednesday, November 4.
Stress itself is not a medical diagnosis, but severe stress that continues for a long time may lead to a diagnosis of depression or anxiety, or more severe mental health problems. Many of life’s demands can cause stress, particularly work, relationships and money problems.
Almost 11.3 million working days are lost each year in England and Wales because of stress. It is the single biggest cause of workplace absence, affects one-in-five people and accounts, on its own, for over a third of the 27 million sick days a year.
The main causes of workplace stress include a lack of control over one’s role, lack of support, excessive demands leading to long hours, boredom, workstation problems such as noise, temperature or fumes, an office culture that fails to discourage bullying and attacks weakness, repetitive tasks and low pay.
Employers who tackle stress issues can benefit threefold from their investment. It has been calculated that every £1 spent alleviating stress will return £3 in improved productivity.
Reducing stress increases workplace commitment, increases performance and productivity, reduces staff turnover, improves customer satisfaction and enhances corporate image and reputation.
Dr Kevin Hill, Chair of NHS South Lincolnshire CCG, said: “Being aware that you suffer from stress-related symptoms is the first step to dealing with it.
“Excessive or prolonged stress can lead to illness and physical and emotional exhaustion. There are many things you can do to manage stress more effectively, such as lifestyle changes; regular exercise, learning how to relax, adopting good time-management techniques and seeking professional help.
“For employers, recognising stress isn’t easy, particularly in its early days, but the earlier you can identify it, identify the cause of it and alleviate the symptom, the less likely it is that you’ll lose a member of staff for weeks at a time and the productivity that goes with sickness absence.”
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