According to Dr Andrew Parker, consultant psychiatrist at Capio Nightingale Hospital in Marleybone, London, there has been a noticeable increase in city workers seeking help for work-related stress over the last few years.
With the looming threat of financial crisis, redundancy and sector cuts, job security is today at an all time low.
Employers are especially feeling the strain, with many finding themselves in difficult situations like having to make redundancies, or being forced to hold onto information they can’t talk about.
For one senior banking executive, referred to here as Don, anxiety got the better of him. Between 2007 and 2008, the executive got no more than 2 hours sleep a night. After a year of running entirely on caffeine and adrenaline, the 60 year old finally decided to seek help from his GP, who advised him to take time off work.
Contrary to GP advice, the Centre for Mental Health has claimed that taking time off work serves only to heighten the problem.
Don said: “Unfortunately, when I stopped [working] I became what would be characterised as depressed – anti-social, exhausted and fed up. There are many like me in the City, for whom work is life – it’s your hobby, it’s your interest. The removal of work was traumatic. Your life crumbles and suddenly you lose your route to recovery. A lot of people in my situation commit suicide.”
Often, depression can slip by unnoticed for many years. Many high-powered professionals possess certain personality traits – such as being obsessive, perfectionist or highly driven- which can lead to them losing touch with their own bodies’ needs.
There is still a huge stigma surrounding mental health issues, with many city workers remaining sceptical about therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling. This can cause workers to ignore their symptoms, and to power on with work tasks regardless.
In an attempt to address the mounting mental health problem, Dr Andrew Parker has announced plans to open a specialist stress and post-traumatic stress disorder clinic dealing specifically with stressed workers.
Managers are encouraged to look out for signs of stress in their workforce. Symptoms can include social isolation, impatience, irritability, poor concentration and heavy drinking.
After consulting a psychiatrist, which allowed him to offload his anxieties about the financial crisis, Don has now left his job as a senior banking executive job. Now, as an independent consultant, he claims to be ‘absolutely fine’.
If you are experiencing stress in the workplace, you may wish to consult a counsellor. Visit our homepage and use the search tool to find a counsellor working in your area.
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