The recession has taken its toll on the mental health of workers in the UK, according to research released by the charity Mind today.
It found that one in 10 workers have sought support from their GPs as a direct result of the recession and 7% have started taking antidepressants for stress and mental health problems.
The findings, which come from a poll of 2,050 workers, coincide with government statistics showing the biggest rise in antidepressant prescriptions ever, with a record 39.1 million issued in 2009, up from 35.9 million in 2008.
Mind is using the results to launch a campaign to improve mental well-being at work.
The survey found that 28% of staff were working longer hours, half said morale was low, and just 38% thought that their employer was doing enough to support them.
The Taking Care of Business campaign is calling for employers to introduce policies to deal with stress at work and improve support for staff, along with action to tackle mental health stigma.
It said that mental health at work remained a taboo subject costing businesses an estimated £26bn a year.
Mind’s chief executive, Paul Farmer, said: “Investing in well-being doesn’t have to be expensive, and businesses who look after their staff reap the rewards in reduced sickness absence and increased productivity.”
Other findings from the survey include:
• 5% of staff have seen a counsellor since the recession started.
• Almost 50% of people had lost sleep due to work during their working lives.
• 22% had developed depression.
• One in five said that work stress had made them physically ill.
• One in four had cried at work due to unmanageable pressure.