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Stress Awareness Month

This April, Britain’s bosses are being invited to follow five simple steps to prevent and reduce stress in their workplace.

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Working Minds campaign has called on employers to support workers mental health during Stress Awareness Month.
Liz Goodwill, head of the work-related stress and mental health policy team at HSE, said:

“We are inviting business owners, employers and managers to join others across Britain to make a difference during Stress Awareness Month in five steps.”

Dealing with stress
Over the course of the month, employers are encouraged to focus on one of the campaign’s 5 Rs for each of the five weeks. They are:

to Reach out and have conversations,

Recognise the signs and causes of stress,

Respond to any risks you’ve identified,

Reflect on actions you’ve agreed and taken

...and make it Routine.

Preventing work-related stress isn’t just the right thing to do by workers, it’s the law.

All employers are required to prevent work related stress to support good mental health in the workplace.

The Working Minds campaign brings together a range of tools and support to help businesses and workers including free online learning, Talking Toolkits, risk assessment templates and examples.

Liz added: “Failing to manage work-related stress can cost employers in reduced productivity, sickness absence costs, or even losing a valued member of the team.”

Employers are required to assess the risk of work-related stress impacting their workers, and act on the risks identified.

“As well as guiding you step by step, the HSE provide all the practical templates, tools and resources you need to get started or, you can use it as an opportunity to review what you already do. A huge part of this is making it part of your everyday working life, not just a one-off tick box that gets forgotten about.”

Many organisations are reactive and tend to put more emphasis on providing support when people become ill rather than on prevention, including for mental ill health and stress. We need both!

We want to see every organisation taking a proactive approach to employee wellbeing. The HSE are supporting the Working Minds campaign to help employers to create the working conditions and environment that prevents stress and supports good mental health. That also means designing jobs with realistic workloads and targets, and encouraging people to have a healthy work-life balance.”

There are six main areas that can lead to work-related stress if they are not managed properly.

These are: demands, control, support, relationships, role and change. Factors like skills and experience, age, or disability may all affect someone’s ability to cope.