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Mental health problems are a major factor in workplace absence, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Looking at data from 2014/15, the number of days off taken due to mental health problems, such as stress, depression and anxiety, has risen by 25 per cent.
There were a number of reasons given for workplace absence, including musculoskeletal, back and neck pain, as well as minor illnesses such as colds.
Stress, depression and anxiety accounted for 17 million sickness hours, followed by 13.8 million hours linked to musculoskeletal and 9.4 million because of neck and upper limb problems.
Dr Mark Winwood, director of psychological services for AXA PPP healthcare, said: “It’s interesting to see the ONS report and that the number of employees taking leave as a result of stress, depression and anxiety has spiked in the last year. This may seem like bad news but we should also take note of how many individuals feel more comfortable reporting mental health problems, which was once seen as a taboo illness to admit to.”
He added it is key for employers to ensure they look after staff members and ensure they have the right support as “the benefits are significant. Fit and happy employees with good jobs will be more engaged, their effort and creativity is likely to be higher and they are less likely to have accidents”.