A recent article in IOSH Magazine says cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in the UK rose by 13% to 1,800 per 100,000 workers in the 12 months to April 2018 compared with 2016-17 when the condition became the most common work-related illness for the first time, overtaking musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
The rate of stress and mental health problems among workers in Great Britain is the highest in 17 years, according to the injury and ill health statistics published yesterday by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
While the rate of MSDs continued a long-term downward trend in the most recent period, dropping to a low of 1,420 cases per 100,000 workers, work-related stress has shown signs of increasing in recent years.
The number of working days lost to stress, depression and anxiety increased by 23% last year, rising from 12.5 million in 2016-17 to 15.4 million in 2017-18. This equates to an average of 25.8 days per case. 595,000 workers said they experienced a mental health condition in the past 12 months, compared with 562,000 in 2016-17 and 487,000 in 2015-16.
Though the number of overall stress cases increased in 2017-18, the number of new cases remained flat when compared with the previous 12 months. There were 239,000 new reports of stress, depression or anxiety – 720 per 100,000 workers and unchanged from the previous year when 236,000 new cases were reported. This suggests that people who are stressed or dealing with a mental health problem caused or exacerbated by their jobs are taking longer to recover.
The rate of work-related stress, depression and anxiety was broadly flat but has shown signs of increasing in recent years.
Women aged 25-54 experienced higher levels of work-related stress, anxiety and depression then men.
Significantly higher rates of stress and mental health problems were observed in the “professional” occupational category, driven by the nursing and midwifery, teaching and welfare occupations.
On the other hand, skilled tradespeople, those in elementary occupations and process plant and machine operatives had statistically significantly lower rates.
Of the 1.4 million people who experienced a work-related health condition in 2017-18, 44% of cases related to stress, depression or anxiety, while MSDs accounted for 35%, or 469,000 instances. In 2016-17 there were 507,000 cases of work-related MSDs (a rate of 1,550) and 539,000 (1,670) the year before that. The prevalence of work-related MSDs has continued to fall since the turn of the century.
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