It is thought that almost one in every four people living in the UK have are dealing with a mental health issue. While not all mental health problems are serious and can be short term. They can normally be treated successfully with medication by your doctor.
Mental health affects how we think, the way we feel and how we behave. The two most common mental health problems are depression and anxiety. These problems are often triggered by difficult life events such as bereavement but work related issues can also create problems.
In general work related stress, if prolonged can surely lead to physical as well as psychological deterioration and damage, including anxiety and depression.
Work related stress is also known to aggravate these conditions if a person already suffers from them and problems at workplace are known to make the symptoms worse.
Whether your work is aggravating the issue, or is the route cause of it, employers have a legal responsibility towards their employees to extend support. It is important that employers assess work related mental illness and measure the potential risk to staff. If a risk is identified, it becomes all the more important to take steps to remove or at least reduce the risk as far as possible within reasonable limits.
There might be employees, who have a pre-existing mental health condition when they are hired, or they may develop one due to various work related factors, such as approaching deadlines, unreasonable targets or toxic behaviour.
Employers of these employees have legal requirements to ensure reasonable adjustments are made in alignment with the Equalities Act 2010.
The government designated Lord Stevenson and Paul Farmer in 2017 to review the role of employers in offering a better support to people suffering from mental health conditions at workplaces.
The report called” Thriving at Work” lays out a framework of actions called as core standards. These standards should and can be adopted by employers irrespective or their size and scale of business. These core standards have been so designed that they can help employers in improving mental health of their employees and enable them with better mental health so that they can thrive and shine at workplaces.
By offering support and taking serious action on work related stress, employers can achieve core standards framework and provide a better working environment.These standards include:
- Formulate a plan for mental health at work
- Encourage open communication and conversations by creating awareness and reducing stigma and taboos around mental health
- Provide a mechanism through which one can monitor actions as well as outcomes
How mental ill health and work-related stress can go together?
Stress related to work and mental health problems often go hand in hand and the symptoms may be strikingly similar. Stress related to work can easily evolve into an existing mental health condition which makes it much more difficult to control. It a work related stress reaches the point that it triggers a pre-existing mental health problem, it may be hard to differentiate one from another.
Most common mental conditions and stress can exist independently and people can often experience work related stress and physical ailments like high blood pressure without having any other symptoms of depression, anxiety or any other mental health condition. Some people on the other hand experience depression and anxiety without experiencing any physical symptoms of stress.
Stress is a reaction to an event or experience in a person’s work or personal life, or may be a combination of both. Most common mental health problems may also have a single cause outside of work environment such as postpartum depression, divorce or a family history of the problem. People may sometimes also experience stress related conditions without any particular reason or trigger.
Employers can help in managing and preventing stress by making changes and improving work conditions. Support starts with creating an environment where people are encouraged to communicate.
Mental ill health and the Management Standards
While stress is known to lead to physical, as well as mental health conditions, it can also aggravate existing ailments. The good news however is that it can easily be tackled most of the times. One can take action to remove or reduce these stresses and you can prevent people from becoming sick and control their symptoms.
The Management Standards Approach of HSE to tackle stress that is work related has established a framework which helps employers tackle stress and reduce the negative impact of mental health. It is also designed to help employers develop processes to put in place for proper management of work related stress. Managing work stress can be aided by minimising pressure at jobs, reducing potential stressors and limiting the negative impacts that a work life can have on employees.
If you are experiencing work related stress and you are not receiving the support our no win no fee Employment Law Solicitors can assist with all types of claims. Naturally, we pride ourselves on providing the best possible service to the highest standards, we offer employment law advice on all problems. Call us on 0800 756 6605 or 020 3923 4777.
Tom Street qualified as a solicitor in 2003 and has over 20 years experience in employment and litigation law. He studied law at the University of Manchester before undertaking the legal practice course at the College of Law in Guildford, going on to complete his legal training at a firm in Chancery Lane, London. Once fully qualified, he moved to a niche litigation practice in the City of London.
In 2010, Tom set up his own legal practice, Tom Street & Co Solicitors and as part of this, in accordance with his strongly held objective to provide everyone with an easy pathway to justice he established the online portals Do I Have A Case? and Tribunal Claim. These websites are trading names of Tom Street & Co Solicitors.