Stress of any kind can easy leak into other areas of life, and can have a marked impact on one’s overall mental health. Workplace stress in particular has seen a significant rise over the past decade. Pronounced stress at work can cause mental health strains (including anxiety, depression, and irritability) which can in turn impact marital, family, and social relationships. Stress also has physical manifestations, including raised blood pressure, sleeping problems, stiffness, muscle tension, and headaches. Already a problem on its own, workplace stress has only been exacerbated by downturns in economies across the globe.
A new survey of 1,440 employees in Britain shows that over half of these workers (54 percent) would like to receive stress counseling services at work. Some say the counseling would help deal with stress specifically related to the economy. The struggling economy adds workplaces stresses for two reasons: firstly, employed workers experience more anxiety and fear over the potential of losing their income. Secondly, those who remain employed are more willing to work harder for less pay in order to retain employment; that increased workload adds physical and emotional strain. Other British workers surveyed said stress counseling would help them address personal emotional stresses that impacting their ability to focus at work.
The good news is that people are more open to the idea of workplace stress counseling than they were even a few years ago. In 2004, a similar survey found that 44 percent of respondents thought workplace stress was an acceptable reason to seek guidance. Now, just six years later, that percentage has jumped to 84 percent. In addition to helping the mental health of individual workers, providing workplace-based stress therapy can benefit the employer as well. Stress is known to decrease creativity, productivity, and attendance in the workplace, which in turn hurt profit and threaten more budget-cutting decisions. Helping employees deal with individual stresses can have a collective benefit for the whole company.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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