Days off due to stress hits a five year high at council

Mental health training is being launched for council managers in a bid to drive down sick days.

Tuesday, 19th August 2014, 9:30 am
Stock picture.

It comes after newly released figures revealed that stressed related days off have hit a five year high at Dacorum Borough Council.

During 2013, 1,467.5 days of work at the council were lost to stress-related conditions.

During the previous year, the figure was significantly lower at 851.5.

The council has revealed that managers will be attending mental health/stress training from September so that they can recognise and support staff who are feeling the strain.

Already, 35 ‘mental health first aiders’ are on hand to talk through issues with workers.

Out of last year’s stress-related sick days, 256.5 were put down to anxiety, 583.5 were blamed on depression and 627.5 related to stress in general.

A total of 49 workers took time off due to stress-related illnesses - up from 44 employees during 2012.

Dacorum Borough Council people group manager Matt Rawdon said: “We take stress in the workplace very seriously. We have trained mental health first aiders at all levels across the organisation - if people are feeling stressed they can go to these trained advisors if they do not feel comfortable going to their managers or HR.

“We are constantly running courses and reviewing our sickness absence management policy to make sure we are looking at ways we can support employees suffering stress or any other condition that is keeping them from work. All managers have mandatory training on the sickness policy and how they can support their staff.”

He said the council’s sickness figures in recent years are around the national level of sickness within local government.

“But we are constantly working to reduce these even further,” said Mr Rawdon.

Staff are given health checks, flu jabs, counselling and return to work interviews.