Workplace stress a major issue for businesses, says IIP report

85 per cent of workers in Northern Ireland admit to feeling stress at work according to a report from Investors in People
Gary McDonald Business Editor

MENTAL health issues are impacting workplaces in Northern Ireland to a greater extent than the rest of the UK, according to findings of a study by Investors in People.

Its 'Managing Mental Health' report found that 85 per cent of people in Northern Ireland admit to feeling stress at work, with a further 63 per cent agreeing that their mental health had been affected by their job at some point in their career.

Some 54 per cent of employees in the region admitted to feeling work-related stress while at home.

And worryingly, just 10 per cent felt they could trust their line manager with a mental health concern, suggesting that office hierarchy is deterring many from discussing their issues with bosses.

Investors in People also sought to identify the extent to which mental health support would be a priority for an employee in Northern Ireland, over and above other employee incentives like a 3 per cent pay rise.

Some 21 per cent of workers said they would rather have workplace support for their mental health than the rise, another 21 per cent would prefer a trustworthy manager and 40 per cent put a comprehensive healthcare package above the annual salary hike.

IIP chief executive Paul Devoy said: “The findings of this inaugural report suggest that, for workers in Northern Ireland, stress and associated mental health worries at work are a significant presence.

"The fact that just 25 per cent feel that their workplace encourages an open culture around mental health is concerning, particularly given the research by Stevenson and Farmer which showed that poor mental health at work could be costing the UK economy as much as £99 billion a year."

He added: “This report has given employers the insights they need to affect meaningful change in this area - but it is vital they take heed.”

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