CAREER DEVELOPMENT / SEP. 12, 2014
version 4, draft 4

Experts Call for More Action to Help Individuals with Mental Health Problems Continue Working

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Government chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies has called for more assistance to help individuals with mental health issues stay at work. She has warned against the effect of mental illness on workers and the nation’s economy.

According to Sally, approximately seventy million work days were lost last year due to mental illness. As a result, there was a loss of £70 to £100 billion in the economy. The number of days lost owing to depression, anxiety and stress has increased by 24% ever since 2009. Shockingly, 75% of individuals with mental illness (that is diagnosable) received no treatment at all.

An appeal to the decision makers

Sally urges decision makers and commissioners to treat mental health problems like physical health. She also says, mental illness can be a cause of worry to the overall economy too.

She goes on to say people with mental illness definitely deserve quality treatment and support on time. Another point highlighted in the report is 60-70% of individuals with mental disorders like anxiety and depression are at work. Hence it is important to take appropriate actions to support these people and help them continue their jobs not only to help the country’s economy, but their own health.

Sally also stresses on the fact that mental health issues are also evident in children and young adults and there is a big need for early treatments. More than 50% of mental illness is seen in people below the age of 15. Helping them on time can prevent several problems like unemployment, crime, substance misuse and antisocial behavior.

The importance of staying in the job

Mark Winstanley [302 from http://www.rethink.org/about-us/people-and-history/our-staff] of Rethink Mental Illness, believes that for a majority of people with mental illness, staying in the job may be the best way to manage their condition or even get well. Mark complains that people with mental illness get little support to get back to work or stay in employment after a period of mental illness. On the other side, there are employers who believe that if you have been suffering from a mental health problem, you may not be able to hold a job.

Mark calls for more help from specialists and better understanding from bosses to help these people get back to workplace. At the same time, people who are unable to work anymore due to their condition must be left alone.

British Medical Association’s Professor Sheila Hollins is encouraged by the report and calls for more equality in treating patients with physical and mental issues. She also calls for showing greater urgency and also realizing the importance of equal funding between mental health sectors and other NHS services.

The president of Royal College of Psychiatrists, Professor Sir Simon Wessely has expressed his support for Dame Sally Davies in calling for more mental health support and training, reduced waiting time, improving standards for treating victims and the emphasis of keeping people at work.

Points to Take Away

As an employee, you would have realized by now the importance of staying fit at work, not only physically but mentally as well. There are many things you can do to eliminate stress at work. Office work may not always be the cause of your mental health issue. But knowing how to manage stress in the workplace can help you lead a healthy and happy life.

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