Samaritans is targeting support at employers across Broxbourne ahead of an expected 17% uplift in jobs in the borough, potentially increasing workplace mental health problems locally.
The number of workers in the borough, currently 35,000, is set to grow by up to 6,000 in the next 14 years, according to Broxbourne Borough Council’s latest local plan.
The council and Herts and Essex (Ware) Samaritans are linking up through Ambition 2019, a business showcase being held in the borough next week on November 12.
As many as 21,000 employees in Broxbourne could already be experiencing work-related mental health issues, as Samaritans figures (1) show three in five of all workers are potentially affected.
Samaritans local branch director Jenny Richardson said:
“Any challenging economic environment can put people at greater risk of suicide. According to the council’s latest local plan, the borough will see up to 6,000 more people working here by 2033 (2).
“Employers in the borough might appreciate some support with employee mental health as the number of staff here grows. Employers who show they care about the well-being of their employees are likely to be more successful with their recruitment.”
All employees, in any role, can be affected by workplace stress. Job insecurity and zero hours contracts also put people under a lot of pressure (1). Work is our main overall cause of stress, with 59% of employees experiencing it ahead of family and money worries, which affect 35% (3).
Samaritans has called on workplaces to put suicide preventions plans in place and provide psychological support. Jenny said: “Samaritans can help employers enhance emotional support in the workplace. The aim should be to create a culture where employees feel supported and no one has to cope alone.”
Broxbourne council itself has strategies to deal with many kinds of mental health triggers, whether work-related or arising from emerging issues outside work, such as emotional abuse, FGM and forced marriage. Staff from its personnel department attend courses to help them gain awareness of suicide risks.
The council’s Ambition 2019 business showcase, being held at The Spotlight in Hoddesdon on November 12, has chosen Herts and Essex (Ware) Samaritans as one of its beneficiary charities this year. The branch is also one of the Mayor of Broxbourne’s chosen charities for 2019-20.
The Mayor, Councillor Steve Wortley, said: “I am delighted that the organisers of Ambition 2019 have selected our local Samaritans as one of the charity beneficiaries for this event. I know only too well the effect that mental health can have on individuals and what a fantastic job the volunteers at Samaritans do.
“We take mental health very seriously in the Borough of Broxbourne, both for the public and our staff, and this is yet another example of this”
Source: Personnel Today/Perkbox
Overwork was the main reason given for workplace stress (21%). A quarter of employees said they struggled when they were stressed and 18% turned to caffeine and alcohol.
Long working hours (21%) are the most common cause of work-related stress, followed by concerns about work performance – both by employees (13%) and others (13%).
Sleep loss (65%) is the main effect, followed by anxiety (47%), disrupted concentration (37%), comfort eating (35%) and being less productive (32%).
Almost half (45%) of workers say that their place of work does not have any emotional support in place. Just 8% offer counselling services, 6% offer stress management and/or resilience training and 9% arrange regular one-to-one interviews with managers.