Workplace stress under the spotlight

A CAMPAIGN to tackle rising stress in the workplace due to the economic downturn has been launched in Suffolk.

A CAMPAIGN to tackle rising stress in the workplace due to the economic downturn has been launched in Suffolk.

Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust is concerned that anxiety and mental health problems at work have reached an all-time high because of the recession and threats of redundancy among the county's workers.

So the trust has launched the Suffolk Business Minded initiative, together with the Suffolk and Bury St Edmunds Chambers of Commerce.

The campaign aims to highlight that three in ten employees will experience mental health problems every year, and that nationally 80 million work days are lost annually due to stress, anxiety or depression.

Robert Nesbitt, the trust's director of community engagement, said: “This is a serious problem. Lots of people are worried about their jobs and there is a lot of stress in the workplace.

“Most people know someone who is under threat of redundancy or are themselves.

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“We wanted to look at how we could help people and businesses in this economic downturn.”

So the mental health trust is providing information packs, setting up a forum, and sponsoring two training sessions which will give advice on preventing stress, and helping businesses support their employees when they do experience mental health difficulties.

“If someone has an illness businesses know how to deal with that, but with stress it isn't the same and some businesses don't know how to cope,” Mr Nesbitt added.

The one-day courses will be free thanks to the trust's sponsorship, so small and medium-sized businesses, which may be cutting their training budgets, can attend.

They will be held in Bury St Edmunds on May 21 and in Ipswich on June 11 and there are spaces for 140 companies.

Ruth Badger from television's The Apprentice and Badger or Bust, has also given her backing to the project, and added: “Work related stress within my workforce is my biggest fear as a business owner. Look after your people and your business will grow.”

For more information about the campaign visit www.ifyouknew.co.uk.

Have you experienced stress at work? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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