Rise in hospital admissions for stress is blamed on the recession

Job insecurity a factor as 47 per cent more people seek treatment since credit crunch of 2007

Rising numbers of people are being admitted to hospital with stress caused by the recession, official figures show. After Olympic cheer provided a brief respite, the statistics reveal the severity of mental problems suffered by Britons at a time of widespread job insecurity.

Almost 6,400 people were hospitalised with stress in the 12 months to May, a seven per cent rise on the previous year and 47 per cent up on 2007-8 when the economic crisis hit, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HCIS),

Those of working age were most vulnerable, with the highest rate of hospital admissions. Overall hospital admissions were up two per cent last year, indicating that admissions for stress, though low, are rising three times as fast.

Stress is the single biggest cause of sickness in the UK, affecting one in five of the working population and racking up 105 million days lost each year, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

A survey of young people in their 30s by the Institute of Psychiatry found the most stressful jobs were head chefs in big restaurants and construction workers under pressure to complete a building on time. Working to deadlines where failure is publicly visible, in extremes of heat or cold and without encouragement or support were the most stressful work environments.

The HCIS figures do not include the millions who visit GPs, A&E departments or alternative practitioners for stress which are also thought to be increasing.

Experts blamed the recession for the rising toll but expressed surprise at the rate of hospitalisation. Stress is normally a trigger for illness, not an illness in itself.

Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology at Lancaster University and an expert on stress, said: "I have never seen figures like this before. Stress is a trigger mechanism for a whole range of conditions, from heart attacks to immune system disorders, mental illness and depression and anxiety.

"There will be a heck of a lot more than 6,000 admissions a year for stress when you take account of all the conditions triggered by stress.

"But the figures do not surprise me. There is a lot of job insecurity out there. It is not just people losing their jobs – there is also the fear of losing their jobs. Those who remain are fewer, with more work to do and more pressure, and they are managed by people who are overloaded and also fear for their jobs. On many scales stress now passes musculo-skeletal problems such as back ache as a cause of working days lost. People see other jobs going and they fear they are next."

Tim Kendall, a Sheffield psychiatrist and deputy director of the Royal College of Psychiatrists research unit, said: "There has been an increase in the number of people who have fallen on hard times. I work in a unit for the homeless and I see a lot of people who two years ago were in a home with a family and now it has fallen apart."

Admissions for stress are usually short, providing a refuge from the stressful situation, with supportive therapy to get them back on their feet, he said. "They may need a bit of time to sort things out and practical brief therapy. Treatment would be by talking, not medication, with a fairly light touch."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Front-Office Developer (C#, .NET, Java,Artificial Intelligence)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Front-Of...

    C++ Quant Developer

    £700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

    Java/Calypso Developer

    £700 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, J...

    SQL Developer

    £500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer SQL, C#, Stored Procedures, MDX...

    Day In a Page

    Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
    Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

    Stolen youth

    Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
    Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

    Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

    He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
    Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

    Made by Versace, designed by her children

    Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
    Anyone for pulled chicken?

    Pulling chicks

    Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
    9 best steam generator irons

    9 best steam generator irons

    To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
    England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
    ‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

    ‘We knew he was something special’

    Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York