Workplaces need a “transformation” in how mental health issues are tackled as stress reaches record levels, according to research.
The TUC said stress is now the top health and safety concern, especially among public sector workers.
A survey of 1,000 union health and safety reps across the UK found seven out of 10 said stress is a problem, particularly for employees affected by Government spending cuts.
The problem has increased most in Northern Ireland, the North, Scotland and the South West, said the union organisation.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: “The message from the shop floor is clear, stress is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. Pressures of long working hours and low job security are being felt in workplaces across the UK.
“It's in no-one's interests to have overstretched workforces. People who experience high anxiety are less productive and are more likely to take time off. Stress is preventable if staff have reasonable workloads, supportive managers and a workplace free from violence, bullying and harassment.”
Meanwhile, a report to mark World Mental Health Day today said the Government should take action to bring parity to mental and physical first aid in the workplace.
Mental Health First Aid England, Mind and MP Norman Lamb issued a report saying there is mounting evidence of a “dearth” of mental health provision in the workplace.
Employers are urged to invest in first aid training in mental health.
Poppy Jaman, chief executive of Mental Health First Aid, said: “Our workplaces need to undergo a transformation. People are working increasing hours, with less resources, and under more pressure. Millions of employees feel unsupported and employers must act now to retain top talent and boost productivity.
“Better access to support is critical to improve outcomes for those living with a mental health issue. Support in the workplace plays a vital role for employees and the economy. Mental health issues, stress, depression or anxiety account for almost 70 million days off sick per year, the most of any health condition.
“We will only make headway when employers value mental health as they do physical health.”