This headline from the Mail Online references the most recent Office of National Statistics (ONS) annual population survey which measured a 22% increase in self-declared anxiety levels amongst UK adults from 19.8% in the year to March 2019 to 24.2% in the year to March 2021.
It is true that mood pessimism can cause surveys such as the ONS to exaggerate the anxiety problem when compared to the underlying incidence of clinically validated cases reported by the NHS. But whatever the true figure is, its big and it’s been increasing recently.
This isn’t just a UK phenomenon, a paper just published in the Lancet reports that anxiety and depression levels increased across the globe during 20201.
Causes of increased employee anxiety levels include2:
- Concern about income and potential job loss since the start of lockdown.
- Homeworking stressors mainly revolving around inability to separate personal life from work.
- Fear of being exposed to the virus when being called to return to site.
It’s too early to measure what has happened since March 2021 and whether the easing of lockdown has reduced anxiety levels or whether one set of stressors has been complicated or replaced by another set (e.g., supply chain disruptions, increasing inflation, increasing interest rates). Work Wellness is a small sample size, but in terms of employee anxiety levels, we’ve been receiving an increased number of management referrals for physical and mental health issues triggered by a return to the workplace.
You don’t have to try hard to find lots of statistics which measure and track the mental health crisis3 but the numbers don’t help solve our day to day management problem which is to identify and help the one in five of our employees who are struggling with high anxiety levels.
This is where the Mind Matters Employee Mental Health assessment programme comes in.
- The programme can be made available to any and all employees who want to come along.
- They benefit from a completely confidential 60 minute mental health conversation with an experienced Occupational Health Specialist Practitioner.
- The Practitioner uses calculators endorsed by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) to measure employee anxiety levels and establish an objective starting point for a conversation about stressors and lifestyle choices which many employees describe as a therapy in itself.
- The Practitioner provides an accurate measure of mental health, places both COVID specific and other health risks into context and helps to allay any fears. On the other hand, they can identify elevated risks, get to the root cause of what’s causing them, help address them, recommend adjustments to better control them and also signpost to self-help resources or refer on to other practitioners for more specialist treatments.
For more information about the Mind Matters Employee Mental Health assessment programme please click on the image:
- Global prevalence and burden of depressive and anxiety disorders in 204 countries and territories in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet. 8th October. 2021
- COVID-19 pandemic creates new causes of ‘workplace’ stress. University of Birmingham. 6th November. 2020
- Extent of mental health crisis in England at ‘terrifying’ level. The Guardian. 9th April. 2021.