Mental Health Awareness Week: 4 out of 5 workers say stress is now a ‘way of life’

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May 11 2018

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The growing impact of workplace stress has been revealed today in a new survey – with 80% of people describing it as a ‘way of life’.

The research – conducted by Cascade HR – polled 540 UK participants across a range of occupations and demographics, in readiness for Mental Health Awareness Week (14-18 May).

20% of respondents claimed they had been off work due to stress, but a staggering 67% said they had felt stressed at work – for a period of one week or more – during the past 12 months.

Workload was ranked as the biggest culprit, with 68% of people stating this as a cause of stress during the working day. This was followed by colleague behaviour (47%), juggling work and family pressures (40%) and management style (39%). 61% of participants also believe society has an impact on daily stress.

Encouragingly, 40% said they feel their employer takes enough proactive steps to protect mental wellness and 61% said they feel they could speak up if they began to experience stress-related symptoms. But even more needs to be done, says Oliver Shaw, CEO at Cascade.

“The statistics would suggest that stress looms large for the British workforce, which – as a country of employers – is something we need to address,” he said. “It’s great to learn that the majority of people think they could voice their concerns – at home and at work – if they begin to feel stressed, which shows some of the stigma is being tackled. But it can’t stop there.

“We have to acknowledge that stress can jeopardise mental wellness. 75% of people believe mental health is becoming one of the most significant risks to the nation’s wellbeing, which is a crucial takeaway point during this Mental Health Awareness Week.”

On a positive note, participants also identified their mechanisms to mitigate the feeling of stress. Switching off from work was the most popular action (27%), followed by seeking colleague support (26%) and listening to music (13%). An overwhelming 77% of people said the support of an effective manager plays a significant part in their management of stress levels and mental wellbeing.

“There’s also something to be said in that 50% of people think stress is an overused term,” continued Oliver. “ explains that stress is not a mental health problem in itself – it is an adaptation to the situation we find ourselves in. But it is chronic stress that we need to prevent as this can lead to destructive mental and physical health problems.”

The Mental Health Awareness Week website summarises that: “Life will always have its challenges and no-one wants to go back to living in caves. But unless we step back and find alternative approaches to a life of repeated stressful events, we can’t expect the tide of poor mental health to turn.”

Of the people polled, 277 had a HR or management responsibility. 64% stated that their wellbeing strategy is ‘a work in progress but heading in the right direction’ and 58% said mental wellness is crucial within the workplace, so they are going to ramp up their efforts.

To view the findings of the research in full, please visit:


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