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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April, 2003, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Campaign aims to beat work stress
Workers at computers
Workers often do not talk about stress
The Easter break will give people the ideal way to get away from the stresses of work.

In a survey, a third said a break - such as a bank holiday - was the best way of switching off from the demands of the office.

The survey, for the Doctor Patient Partnership (DPP), found over three-quarters of people thought work-related stress was a fact of life.

Over half of the 1,000 people questioned thought it was up to the individual to deal with their stress.

A quarter said they would not speak to anyone about how they were feeling.


The DPP is launching a campaign to help people recognise and manage their stress, particularly if it is related to work.

It is up to us all as individuals, employers and a society to place the highest possible premium on looking after our minds
Dr Chris Manning, National Mental Health Taskforce.
It aims to raise awareness of the problems amongst employers.

Part of the campaign will be a 'note for employers' which employees can get from their GPs. The note will outline general measures which can be used to reduce workers' stress.

Work related illness leads to millions of lost working days.

A Health and Safety Committee report found that in 2001 to 2002, 32.9m working days had been lost due to work related illness or illnesses made worse by work.

Dr Simon Fradd, chairman of the DPP, said: "Stress is the second biggest cause of sickness absence days of employees in the UK.

"This has enormous impact for employees, employers and society as a whole."

He said the problem also led to pressure on GPs and other parts of primary care, particularly in demand for sickness certification.


Dr Fradd said people should make more use of their occupational health department.

He added: "Employees need to feel they are able to approach their employers to talk about work-related stress.

"Clearly some employees are more likely to do this than others and men would seem to be particularly reluctant."

Dr David Beaumont, an occupational physician, said: "This campaign will help reassure people that these are issues which they should raise, and that their employers will want to help them with.

"GPs can help to prompt this with the 'Note for Employers', and occupational health doctors and nurses can support them by liaising with their managers at work."

The campaign was also welcomed by Dr Chris Manning a member of the National Mental Health Taskforce.

Dr Manning said: "Anxiety, depression, burn-out, alcohol and substance misuse are all on the increase as people try to bridge the gap between external pressures and their brain's ability to cope with them.

"It is up to us all as individuals, employers and a society to place the highest possible premium on looking after our minds.

"The figures associated with not doing so speak for themselves."

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