Norfolk MP issues ‘blue Monday‘ warning to employers

Norman Lamb (Lib Dem) arrives at the Norfolk North Parliamentary Constituency General Election 2015

Norman Lamb (Lib Dem) arrives at the Norfolk North Parliamentary Constituency General Election 2015 count at North Walsham Sports Hall, The verification of votes is well underway with nearly all of the ballot boxes back and being sorted before the count. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE - Credit: Archant

Employers must be more proactive to stop people falling out of work because of mental health illnesses, a Norfolk MP has warned.

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk who has campaigned on mental health issues, also said the government should sit up and take action.

It came as the Work-related stress, anxiety and depression statistics last year show that 11.7m days were lost due to depression in 2015/16 - an average of 23.9 days for each case.

Stress accounted for 37pc of all work related ill-health cases and 45pc of all working days lost due to ill-health, and it suggested it was more prevalent in public service industries, such as education; health and social care, and public administration and defence.

People who took part in the survey said workload pressures, including tight deadlines, too much responsibility, and a lack of managerial support were factors in causing stress, anxiety and depression.

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Mr Lamb said: 'These startling figures should force the Government to sit up and take notice of the mental health crisis facing the UK workforce.

'Every day lost due to mental health problems carries an economic as well as a human cost. Mental illness is estimated to cost the economy around £105bn every year.

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'There is an urgent need for employers to take a proactive approach to the mental health of their staff and avoid people falling out of work, and the Government must not shy away from bold measures to incentivise this – including changes to legislation where necessary.

'While we have a raft of legislation and regulations focusing on employees' physical health and safety, mental wellbeing is still very much neglected in the workplace. But the case for investing in workforce mental health is unanswerable. Prevention and early intervention can make a massive difference – and it makes total economic sense for employers, who will reap the benefits of higher productivity and reduced absenteeism.'

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