The Director of Public Health’s annual report for 2019 was presented to Reading’s Health and Wellbeing Board on 11 October 2019. The annual report focuses on the mental wellbeing and musculoskeletal (MSK) health of the workforce. In the UK, 131 million working days are lost each year to sickness absence, and the leading causes are minor illness, MSK disorders and mental health issues (stress, depression and anxiety). Mental health conditions account for 14.3m days lost and 19% of long term sickness, while MSK disorders account for 28.2m days lost and 33% long term sickness. The main factors leading to work-related mental health issues include:
- high workload pressure
- insufficient managerial support
- lack of clarity of roles and responsibilities
- experience of violence, threat and bullying in the workplace
- lack of employee engagement when business undergoes organisational changes
MSK health can be affected by sitting too long in front of our computers and repetitive movements such as typing and clicking your mouse.
The report is not all doom and gloom! It suggests that healthy workplace policies are the essential foundation for a healthy workforce, including supporting managers to feel confident to handle sensitive conversations, signpost to appropriate external support when needed and promote positive culture around physical and mental health for employees.
The next Voluntary Sector Wellbeing Forum will include a presentation on the Director of Public Health’s annual report and the opportunity to share ideas about how we can support healthy workplaces.