April is stress awareness month

April is stress awareness month – what should we be aware of?


Not all stress is bad stress – that extra bit of adrenalin to help you cross the finish line in a race or when you must deliver a key presentation can be very welcome.

But according to HSE figures in 2017/18 stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of all work-related ill health cases and 57% of all working days lost due to ill health.

When stress becomes negative it can have some very serious consequences on your health including - problems sleeping; anxiety; depression; nausea; lack of appetite; fatigue; heartburn; gastrointestinal issues; heart damage; strokes; changes in behaviour, unusual tearfulness, irritability or aggression; indecisiveness; increased sickness absence; poor timekeeping; reduced performance e.g. inability to concentrate, overworking or failure to delegate; erosion of self-confidence; relationship problems e.g. becoming withdrawn or argumentative; increased unwillingness to cooperate or accept advice; excessive smoking or drinking; drug abuse.

What you need to know as an Employer:

If poor employment practices have caused the stress then as employer you could be guilty of breaking the law! The Health & Safety Executive define work related stress as "The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work." They also have a set of six management standards that companies should adhere to in order to show best practice.

The case of Walker v. Northumberland C.C. [26] established that the duty of care oy employers to employees also extends to psychiatric injury and that work-related stress can result from either the character of the work carried out or the volume of work.

In Young v Post Office [32] the Court of Appeal held that where an employee has already suffered from psychiatric illness it is reasonably foreseeable that there might be a recurrence if appropriate steps are not taken when the employee returns back to work. The court stated that the employer owes the employee duty to take such steps and to see that the arrangements made are carried through.

Protection of Harassment Act 1997 (PHA 1997) and breach of statutory duty an employee does not have burden of establishing that injury was reasonably foreseeable.

Employers can be vicariously liable for breaches of the PHA 1997 by their employees. The test is that a harasser must have knowingly caused serious distress or alarm on at least two occasions.

In Green v DB Group Services (UK) Ltd, Ms Green successfully used this law to claim damages exceeding £1.5 million.

How can Mental Health First Aid help?

The H&S Executive have stated that first aid training courses covering mental health, teach delegates how to recognise warning signs of mental ill health and help them to develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone, while keeping themselves safe and is one of the ways that employers can ensure that they meet their legal obligations.

As work-related stress costs employers between £30 - £40 billion a year can you afford not to be more stress aware?

If you want to know more about Mental Health First Aid contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07974 603042. 

Body Image


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Latest Blogs

A minute is all it takes      I hope that this statistic shocks you as much as it does me ….Every 40 seconds someone in the world ...
Event + Response = OutcomeLike many women of my generation, I am a big fan of the Bridget Jones movies and I always love those scenes where she throws...
Breaking the alcohol habitOne of the problems faced by anyone battling with an addiction to alcohol is the lack of knowledge of those who can render t...
Is society’s obsession with body image causing mental health problems?Since time immemorial people, and women in particular, have chased an image of w...
Go to top