One in four workers have had time off because of mental health issues, an Usdaw survey reveals

Date: 09 October 2015 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has released initial findings of a members’ survey ahead of the 2015 World Mental Health Day on Saturday 10 October.
The survey was conducted as part the union’s ‘Is worry tying you up in knots’ campaign and looked at the pressures and concerns that members have about work, home life and balancing them both.

Nearly one in four respondents said they had taken time off work because of worry, anxiety or depression. Over half of those said that they didn’t feel able to be honest about the reason for their absence.

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Many people are feeling under pressure at work and at home; having to cope with changes to hours, rising food and fuel bills and changes to benefits. When times are tough people can feel anxious and worried, which can in turn affect their mental health.

“Almost one in four survey respondents said they had needed some time off work for reasons relating to their mental health at some point in their working lives.  This is clearly a cause for concern, but of equal concern is that the majority of people needing time off because of stress, anxiety or depression don’t feel able to be open about it. When a person isn’t able to talk about what is really causing them problems at work, it is much harder to address and resolve those difficulties.

“There is clearly still a strong stigma around mental health and as a trade union we are committed to tackling that. We want to encourage workers who feel under pressure to talk to their union sooner rather than later. We can help by getting the advice and support they need to enable a return to work or to remain in work in the first place.

“Usdaw would like to work with employers to develop policies and procedures that will support staff who might be worried about their mental health. By working together we can make a real difference. 

“World Mental Health Day is a very effective way of tackling the stigma that we know still surrounds this issue, by showing support for everyone who has, has had or knows someone with a mental health problem.”

Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 440,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

Usdaw’s ‘Is worry tying you up in knots’ survey was completed by 2,464 members across all sectors of the union in face-to-face conversations with reps and online:
 
  • 959 (38.9%) said they had taken time off work because of worry, anxiety or depression.
  • Of those 519 (54.1%) said that didn’t feel able to be honest about the reason for their absence.
World Mental Health Day: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/world-mental-health-day/

Further advice at: www.usdaw.org.uk/mental_health

Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 440,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

For Usdaw press releases visit: www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers