Extensive stress affecting thousands of public sector workers

Government cuts are taking a toll on people working in the public sector, according to a recent survey carried out by the Guardian.

“Reduced budgets, reduced staff members, higher caseloads and more red tape… you are always struggling just to keep up,” said one participant of the survey.

Looking at over 3,700 workers, including those from the NHS, the police, social housing, charities and probation, the survey unsurprisingly found that many workers are stressed out.

85 per cent of those asked if stress is a fact of life for those in the public and voluntary sector said that it is. 100 per cent of those working in probation said that it is.

But stress should not be a fact of life. Some studies have, indeed, found that a bit of stress can help us to work better, but not when it is a constant pressure. This can wear down our mental health and make us ill.

93 per cent of those surveyed reported that they felt stressed some of the time or a lot of the time, including 9 per cent of respondents who said they felt stressed constantly while at work.

This is not a healthy way to live, especially when stress management and mental health care in the country is not up to the challenge of tackling these mountains of stress.

On average, it was found that respondents put in seven extra hours of work per week, and close to one in five said that they take no breaks during the day.

Governmental cuts have had an impact on the daily lives of workers. One respondent summed up their feelings by saying “The phrase ‘doing more with less’ is not only an offence against physics, it is the frontline workers who bear this ever-increasing workload… When the captain says faster, the oarsmen are the ones whose labour is increased… I suffer with insomnia caused by my employer and I am being treated for anxiety and depression.”

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