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Homecare Association supports new campaign as ‘mental health crisis’ feared across Britain’s workplaces

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The Homecare Association is supporting a new campaign launched to tackle stress and poor mental health across Britain’s workplaces.

While the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is yet to be fully understood, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said mental health issues are the number one reason given for sick days in the UK.

Last year, more than 17 million working days were lost as a result of stress, anxiety, or depression, the regulator said. A recent survey by the charity Mind suggests that two in five employees’ mental health had worsened during the pandemic.

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Across the social care sector, levels of staff sickness have nearly doubled over the course of the pandemic, with an average of 9.5 days lost compared to 5.1 days before the pandemic, according to a recent report from Skills for Care.

In response to these findings, the HSE is launching its new campaign, ‘Working Minds’, at its Health and Work Conference, which examines issues relating to health at work. The campaign aims to help businesses recognise the signs of work-related stress and make tackling issues routine.

While ‘Working Minds’ is specifically targeting six million workers in small businesses, HSE is calling for a culture change across Britain’s workplaces, to ensure psychological risks are treated the same as physical ones in health and safety risk management.

The Homecare Association is working with the HSE to raise awareness of the campaign.

CEO Dr Jane Townson said: “The mental wellbeing of the homecare workforce is more important now than ever before. Homecare staff went above and beyond during the pandemic, often being the only point of contact for some of the most vulnerable in the community.

“They continue to go the extra mile for their clients, despite the careworker shortages which face the sector. We must look after the mental wellbeing of our careworkers, and we are proud to be working with the Health & Safety Executive to raise awareness of the Working Minds campaign.”

The HSE is reminding business that no matter where people work, employers have a legal duty to assess the risks in the workplace, not just in terms of potential hazards and physical safety. They should also promote good working practices. It says this promotes an open environment where employees can share their concerns and discuss options to ease pressures.

HSE chief executive Sarah Albon said: “Work-related stress and poor mental health should be treated with the same significance as risks of poor physical health and injury. In terms of the affect it has on workers, significant and long-term stress can limit performance and impact personal lives.

“No worker should suffer in silence and if we don’t act now to improve workers’ mental health, this could evolve into a health and safety crisis.

“The pandemic has highlighted the need to protect the health of employees who have faced unprecedented challenges; the Government is committed to building back better and we want to make sure good mental health is central to this.”

Tags : Health and safety executivemental healthsick days
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke