Psychology Melbourne Blog

News and Insights from the Science of the Mind

Workplace mental health crisis

Edited by Jill Wright,

Britain's chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, has warned the UK government that more needs to be done to help people with mental health problems to stay in their jobs, citing disturbing figures on the toll of stress, depression and anxiety in the workplace.

According to her report on workplace mental health, around 70 million working days were lost to mental illness in the United Kingdom last year, and the number of working days lost to anxiety, stress and depression had risen by 24 per cent in the past five years.

Unfortunately, she points out, 75 per cent of people with diagnosable mental illness receive no treatment.

Describing the cost of mental health issues to the economy as "astounding", Dame Sally urged authorities to treat mental health more like physical health - advice that should be heeded by Australian authorities.

And she pointed out a particular need for earlier treatment of children and young people in the work place. "Half of adult mental illness starts before the age of 15," she said, "and 75 per cent by the age of 18. Unless young people get help, they risk a life of problems including unemployment, substance misuse, crime and antisocial behaviour."

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About the editor, Jill Wright

Jill Wright (MAPS, AAFT, AICD) is the Director and Principal Psychologist at Psychology Melbourne. Jill was twice elected General Director of the Australian Psychological Society and established the Study Group Network. Find out more about Jill Wright.