The stresses and strains of work are often accepted as part and parcel of everyday life, but sometimes, the anxiety it brings can quite simply get on top of us.
Recent research has suggested that there’s one sector of the workforce that’s more likely to be stressed out and anxious at their jobs – and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s those in the public sector.
Mental health charity Mind found that those who worked in the public sector – so, teachers, police, medical/hospital staff, etc – are more likely to feel anxiety at work and take time off in order to deal with their mental health.
The study, which asked the opinions of 12,000 employees, found that 48% of people working in the public sector had taken time off due to anxiety issues at work, compared with a smaller 32% of people working in the private sector.
Currently, there are estimated to be around 5.4 million public sector workers in the UK, many of whom, specifically teachers and hospital staff, are known to be stressed out given recent budget cuts.
The mental health charity also found that 15% of public sector workers would say their mental health was poor, compared with just 9% in the private sector.
53% of the public sector workforce also declared that they have felt anxious at work on ‘several occasions’ over the last month. In contrast, 43% of their private sector counterparts said that they had felt that way over on ‘several occasions’ in the last month.
But interestingly, employees in the public sector appear to be far more open and forthcoming if they’re suffering with mental health, as 90% admitted they had told their employer about it. A smaller, but still significant 80%, of private sector workers said they had disclosed their mental health problems to their employer.
Following the findings, Paul Farmer, Mind’s chief executive, said that employers have a duty to try and eradicate the “culture of fear and silence in the workplace” towards mental issues.
He also said that the next government should make mental health at work a “key priority”.
The news comes after recent, highly-praised admissions from both Prince William and Prince Harry about how they’ve struggled with their own mental health following the death of their mother in 1997.
Speaking in GQ magazine today, Prince William revealed how he wished more people spoke up about how they are feeling.
He said, “I am shocked we are so worried about saying anything about the true feelings we have. Because mental illness is inside our heads, invisible, it means others tread so carefully, and people don’t know what to say, whereas if you have a broken leg in plaster, everyone knows what to say.”