Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Time to Improve Stress Management in the Work Place as BBC Reports that Ill-Health Costs Economy £100bn

The National Director for Health and Work, Dame Carol Black, said that ill-health was costing the economy £100bn a year. To be frank, I'm not surprised that ill-health is having such a huge financial toll on the nation's economy. Hardly a week goes by when you do not hear, via the media, of the extreme effects that stress is having on individuals.

Many people are resorting to alcohol and drugs to cope with their stressful workloads. Many individuals are experiencing severe depression and many people have resorted to taking their own lives as an escape route.

Some of the Key Recommendations to address this issue are as follows:

"GPs - Current sick note system should be reformed to create fit notes, spelling out what the patient can do."

"Employers - Should offer more support to staff including healthy lifestyle promotion, such as subsidised gym membership, as well as access to occupational health teams.

"NHS - Call to pilot fit for health scheme, which will work via GP referral. Case managers appointed to manage absence through access to physios, counseling and advice."

These are all sound recommendations and many employers are already taking measures to offer their staff support. Just last week I presented a series of stress management workshops for the teachers at Deptford Green School as part of a wider range of activities that included massage therapy, yoga and health checks.

However, one can't help but think that as far as GPs and the NHS is concerned, that these measures should already be in place. I know that in some areas there are a variety of health promotion schemes but we obviously need to do much more.

There is another important point to all this. This report was prompted by the cost to the country's economy but what about the cost to people's quality of life?

Dame Carol Black said that:

"£100bn sounds a large figure. But I think the cost to human life is much larger.

"For most people their work is a key factor in their self-worth, family esteem and identity.

"But it is so easy to fall out of work and move to a place where your confidence and well-being suffers. We must do more to help people, because if you intervene at an early stage you can stop the longer-term problems emerging."

She is right on all counts but the Government's agenda is to have a healthy workforce. After all, most people are nothing but worker bees in this society.

It is up to the individual to be proactive in taking better care of themselves and adopt measures to manage their stress so that they can not only earn a living to support themselves and their family but also enjoy life itself.

Journalist and women's rights activist, Margaret Fuller, said that:

"Men for the sake of getting a living forget to live."

How true. Are you enjoying life or is your life just slipping by?

Many doctors believe that stress lies at the heart of all diseases; yet we need a certain amount of stress to survive. The trouble is that in our modern society it is so easy to reach the state of overwhelm because there are so many pressures and demands on our bodies and minds.

"Stress is the trash of modern life - we all generate it but if you don't dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life."
Danzae Pace

So take steps today to evaluate your physical and mental state. And, if you are feeling the adverse affects of stress seek help before your life completely unravels.

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