Britain’s £100bn stress problem: 24% rise in lost working days since 2009

The government’s chief medical officer has warned that major improvements must be made to support the UK’s growing body of stressed workers.

Dame Sally Davies said that a total of 70 million working days were being lost due to mental health issues last year, costing the economy £70 – £100bn.

Davies said: “The costs of mental illness to the economy are astounding. Through this report, I urge commissioners and decision-makers to treat mental health more like physical health.”

Her annual report shows that the number of working days lost to stress, depression and anxiety has increased by almost a quarter, 24%, over the last four years alone.

Despite this huge upswing in cases, 75% of people with diagnosable mental health problems get no professional medical help.

“Anyone with mental illness deserves good quality support at the right time,” she added. “One of the stark issues highlighted in this report is that 60 to 70% of people with common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety are in work, so it is crucial that we take action to help those people stay in employment to benefit their own health as well as the economy.”

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