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Stress expert Professor Cary Cooper
"Geting the right balance is vital"
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Tuesday, 10 October, 2000, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Work stress blamed for mental illness
The modern workplace is highly pressurised
The high pressure environment of the modern work place is fuelling widespread problems with mental health, according to a survey.

Research by the mental health charity Mind found that more people blame stress at work for problems with mental health than any other cause.

People believe job problems are more likely to cause mental illness than marriage breakdown, bereavement or loneliness.

Mental health problems are set to escalate across the globe

Mind, the mental health charity

Mind questioned 1,500 people who have donated money to Mind about their perceptions of mental illness.

It found that 61% of people believed work stress was the main cause of mental problems from depression to severe illness.

Loneliness was thought to be a common factor by 59% of people, followed by bereavement (55%), traumatic events (52%), the demands of modern life (50%) and relationship problems (50%).

Reluctance to admit problems

The survey showed that even people with a high awareness of mental health issues were reluctant to admit they might have a problem.

Of the Mind donors questioned, 27% said they would lie to their boss if they had to take time off work because of mental stress, pretending they were suffering from physical rather than emotional problems.

A third said they would be too embarrassed to tell their neighbours and a quarter would shy away from confessing to colleagues if they had a mental illness.

Mind estimates that in any one year one in four adults will suffer from some form of mental distress or illness.

The survey found that many people thought the problem was getting worse, with 56% believing children growing up in this decade would be more vulnerable to mental health problems.

A spokesman for Mind said: "Mental health problems are set to escalate across the globe by 2020 and we need to make the public aware of how mental health will become an even more crucial issue in this new millennium."

The survey was published on World Mental Health Day, aimed at challenging the stigma of mental illness.

Other initiatives include an advert commissioned by the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Changing Minds campaign will run in cinemas this week, aimed at challenging the stigma of mental illness.

And a new project for young people called Headstuff aims to educate teenagers about mental problems.

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See also:

19 Sep 00 | Health
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