Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mental health update: stress survey

There were quite a lot of news stories about stress levels in the UK last year. And one of the most significant ones was the news that hospital admissions for stress related ilnesses had risen sharply year on year - by 7%.

One of the possible reasons for this that has been suggested in the recession. This could well be the case for such a noticeable rise, but on the other hand it's possible that as we become more open about mental health, people generally will be more willing to seek a diagnosis if they feel affected by stress.

Companies these days are also embracing mental health promotion more and more, as part of their workplace wellbeing programmes - alongside offering things like EAPs and business health care insurance. It's a very different world from the times when mental health at work simply wasn't a matter that was ever discussed.

But while so much good work is being done in terms of changing attitudes and drawing up wellbeing policies for the workplace, are we seeing the benefits yet in terms of stress levels?

This week yet another survey was published on the subject of stress, and the results are interesting. This one was  a little bit different in that the volunteers for the study actually had their body temperature recorded at different pints throughout the week. Apparently when you're stressed, your temperature increases a bit. Interestingly, Wednesday was found to be the least stressful day of the week, while Friday scored quite highly - this is believed to be down to the fact that on Fridays many of us have to get the decks cleared before the two day weekend break.

A spokesman for the survey's author said that many people in the UK are working under "dangerous" levels of stress and highlighted the stress reduction value of ensuring employees getting a full lunch break and maybe even doing exercises in the office.

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