More than 80% of adult social care professionals working on the front line say their job has had an impact on their mental health, according to new research.
The alarming figure was included in a new report, ‘The Well-being of Professional Care Workers’, commissioned by the National Association of Care and Support Workers (NACAS) and carried out by Care Research.
The survey, published yesterday on Professional Care Workers Day, was based on 628 respondents in various roles, including care workers, support workers, care managers and healthcare assistants.
The majority (81.8%) of respondents said they believed that care work has had an impact upon their own mental health, with that figure rising to 92.5% amongst care managers.
Those who had worked in the sector longer were more likely to answer ‘yes’ to this question, with the report showing that those who had only worked in care for one year were less likely to be affected.
Of those who believe care work had impacted their mental health, 68% said that they had not received a diagnosis of mental illness from a medical professional, although those on a permanent contract were more likely to have been diagnosed.
Commenting on the report, NACAS CEO Karolina Gerlich said: “This research reinforces our understanding of the experiences of the workforce and we hope that social care stakeholders and policymakers will use it to improve social care for all.
“One of our primary aims is to give the social care workforce a voice to influence policy making at the highest levels. Our annual research on the well-being of care workers is designed to inform our campaign strategy; we explore the physical, psychological and economical status of the care workforce, and the impact of the general perception of care work on people’s health and happiness.”
Over a third (40.4%) of those affected by mental health said that they had taken time off work as a result, with almost a tenth of those (9.7%) taking time off for six months or more.
A further 27.2% said they had been out of work for one month, the most common answer in this category.
As many as 84.6% of the 195 respondents that had missed work due to their mental health said that they had lost out on income as a result.
The report also revealed that almost four in five (79.9%) of respondents said that they had experienced burn out, 41.7% said that they could not balance their home and work life well, and 40.3% said that they did not believe their employer would provide adequate support for staff experiencing mental health issues.
More results from report will be published in the coming days.
Caption: Louis Werth, director of Care Research, announcing results from the report at Amnesty International yesterday.