Derbyshire people and businesses are being urged to take action on Stress Awareness Day, which takes place on Wednesday 6 November, by Derbyshire health chiefs and Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce.
Stress itself is not a medical diagnosis, but severe stress that continues for a long time may lead to a diagnosis of depression or anxiety, or more severe mental health problems. Many of life’s demands can cause stress, particularly work, relationships and money problems.
Almost 10.5 million working days are lost each year in England and Wales because of stress. It is the single biggest cause of workplace absence, affects one in five people and accounts, on its own, for over a third of the 27 million sick days a year. On average, people suffering from stress are off work for 24 days, resulting in a total cost to business of £1.24bn a year.
The main causes of workplace stress include a lack of control over one's role, lack of support, excessive demands leading to long hours, boredom, workstation problems such as noise, temperature or fumes, an office culture that fails to discourage bullying and attacks weakness, repetitive tasks and low pay.
Employers who tackle stress issues can benefit threefold from their investment. It has been calculated that every £1 spent alleviating stress will return £3 in improved productivity.
Reducing stress increases workplace commitment, increases performance and productivity, reduces staff turnover, improves customer satisfaction and enhances corporate image and reputation.
Dr Sheila Newport, Chair of NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“Being aware that you suffer from stress related symptoms is the first step to dealing with it. Spotting the early signs of stress will also help prevent it getting worse and potentially causing serious complications, such as high blood pressure. There are many things you can do to manage stress more effectively, such as learning how to relax, taking regular exercise and adopting good time-management techniques.
“Relaxation can help to relieve the symptoms of stress. It can help you calm down and take a step back from a stressful situation. Although the cause of the anxiety won’t disappear, you will probably feel more able to deal with it once you've released the tension in your body and cleared your thoughts.
“Stress can affect how you feel, think, behave and how your body works. In fact, common signs of stress include sleeping problems, sweating, loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating. If you're not sure what's causing your stress, keep a diary and make a note of
stressful episodes for two-to-four weeks. Then review it to spot the triggers.
“Talking through the issues is one of the key ways to tackle stress. So, talk to someone you trust such as a family member, friend or someone at work and try to find ways to alleviate it. There is also a range of talking therapies now available in the county that you could benefit from. The Citizens Advice Bureau also provides free, confidential, independent and impartial advice in a reassuring and anonymous setting.”
George Cowcher, Chief Executive of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, said:
"In today's working environment everyone is under pressure to do a little bit more.
"It is important to challenge staff, to keep them busy, but at the same time to make sure that they get all the support they need to accomplish their tasks and achieve their goals.
"Companies such as Toyota rotate their workers through the various roles on the production line so that they are not doing the same thing day in and day out. It's a technique designed to introduce variety and reduce the stress that comes from repetition.
"Recognising stress isn't easy, particularly in its early days, but the earlier you can identify it, identify the cause of it and alleviate the symptom, the less likely it is that you'll lose a member of staff for weeks at a time and the productivity that goes with sickness absence."
The Erewash, Hardwick, North Derbyshire and Southern Derbyshire CCGs have recently contracted five providers of psychological therapy for the county. The psychological therapy providers are based in a variety of settings and localities across the County and people can access the service themselves or be referred by their GP.
The organisations are as follows:
Let’s Talk Wellbeing: www.letstalkwellbeing.co.uk Tel: 01159 560888
Mental Health Concern & Oakdale Ltd: www.mhco.org.uk Tel: 0300 555 5582
steps2change www.lpft.nhs.uk/steps2change Tel: 0303 1234000
Talking Mental Health Derbyshire:
Trent Psychological Therapy Services www.trentpts.co.uk Tel: 01332 265659
NOTES TO EDITORS:
NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG represents 57 GP practices and is responsible for the healthcare of 525,000 patients in Derby and Southern Derbyshire. It is one of four clinical commissioning groups in Derbyshire.
Rob Hill, Head of Media Relations
Tel: 01332 868954/07884 118775