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Managers 'not addressing work stress', claims charity


Work stress is not being tackled properly by employers, a new report from the mental health charity Mind suggests.

The findings come only days after the RCN said that nurses are suffering “unprecedented” levels of stress and ill health due to staff cuts and overwork.

This is forcing them to choose between their patients’ health and their own, as regards coming into work when sick, according to the RCN’s poll of 2,000 staff.

As many as 55% of staff claim they have been made unwell by stress in the previous year.

The more recent Mind survey found that nearly half of workers (45%) across all professions claim that staff are expected to manage without mentioning stress at work.

Nearly a third (31%) said that they would not be able to speak openly to their line manager if they felt stressed.

Mind has also found a massive gap in the perceptions of managers and other staff about how mental health is tackled in the workplace. Just 22% of workers felt that their manager actively helps them manage stress.

Several bosses, however, appear to believe that they are sufficiently supporting staff. As many as 68% claim that they would find methods of helping staff who are stressed or suffering a mental health problem.

Chief executive of Mind, Paul Farmer, said the new survey shows that stress “remains the elephant in the room” in many workplaces.

He said: “It is vital that managers are equipped with the tools they need to be able to confidently and effectively support their staff, whether they are experiencing stress or mental health problems as a result of work or other factors.”

Mr Farmer said there is a “real danger” that companies are neglecting workplace mental health, with huge implications for staff wellbeing, productivity, motivation and sickness absence.


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Readers' comments (11)

  • I have been so stressed at work that I finally resigned to try and preserve my health. Minimal help was offered. I felt really unsupported.

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  • I have also resigned from work due to stress, we have got two members of the team on maternity leave and were told there is no help available to cover, we are expected to do extra work. Two members of staff are on anti depressants and are frightened to discuss this with management. The management should try to do what they are expecting the staff to do. Paperwork has increased dramatically in the last year and we now have 'root cause analysis' regarding pressure sores where it would appear the staff nurse is to blame

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  • Yet another! I also resigned as only working 18hrs a week and being expected to carry same caseload as those working full time. I took that much work and worry home with me that my family said enough! I couldn't sleep and was mentally unwell to the point that I had suicidal thoughts. I felt totally unsupported and was made to feel inadequate by colleagues. My only good thoughts are that I was appreciated by clients and support staff (most) but not by peers or managers. I can honestly say I do not regret leaving except that I am now having problems putting food on the table!

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  • The job would be fine if managers got there fingers out and properly addressed issues of staffing/skillmix. Also, trained staff on the ground tend to avoid raising this salient point. Staffing/skillmix is in actual fact the "elephant in the room" or NOT in the room to be more precise..

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  • maybe more nurses should go into management and see if it as easy to meet all the demands made on them as they believe. maybe it is not so easy and they would find it just as hard to do a good job or maybe they would do a far better one?

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  • Not many nurses come into the job to be managers. Those who do take on increased responsibility. Presumably that's why they are on increased salary.

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  • I have worked in both roles in my last post and none of it is easy. Stressful at all levels and management also under strain and scrutiny, many grades of staff equally unsupported in the non management of stress. Little option but to take care of yourself. Nobody else will.

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  • More staff. Proper skillmix.

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  • perhaps the nurses are stressing their managers? works both ways. it is up to nurses to collaborate and seek the collaboration of their managers and express their needs just as much as it is the other way round!

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  • It's all about leadership when all is said and done.

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