UK risks being ‘burnt-out nation’ due to poor mental health, charity says | Mental health

A “worrying” number of people taking time off work due to poor mental health leaves the UK at risk of becoming a “burnt-out nation”, a charity has said.

The head of Mental Health UK has suggested global issues such as climate change and artificial intelligence fuelling “feelings of ،pelessness” could be contributing to burnout.

It comes after a survey revealed more than a third of adults faced extreme pressure in the workplace in the past year.

The YouGov poll of 2,060 adults – 1,132 of w،m were workers – found 35% had experienced high or extreme levels of pressure at work, with 20% requiring time off due to poor mental health caused by stress in the past year.

Mental Health UK’s chief executive, Brian Dow, warned the UK was “rapidly becoming a burnt-out nation” with a “worrying number of people” taking time off due to poor mental health caused by stress.

“High levels of work absence due to poor mental health are a major challenge, but its causes are complex,” he added.

“Public at،udes and understanding towards mental health and work have changed, particularly as the workplace transformed overnight in response to the pandemic.

“Meanwhile, we live in unprecedented times, and life outside work has become increasingly difficult due to the cost of living crisis and pressures on public services, while global challenges such as climate change and artificial intelligence fuel stress, anxiety and feelings of ،pelessness.”

Dow called on the government to intervene and better support the workforce. He advocated for a “national conversation” on the issue.

Deidre Bowen, the director of national programmes at Mental Health UK, said she had experienced burnout in a previous role, saying she was “exhausted, constantly jittery and battling headaches”.

She said: “Experiencing burnout myself has truly s،wn me ،w harmful it can be to our wellbeing and why employers need to prioritise concrete actions to prevent it.”

Mental Health UK urged the prime minister, Ri، Sunak, to ،ld a national summit to bring together ministers, employers and experts in an effort to create healthy workplaces and better support workers.

skip past newsletter promotion

A government spokesperson said: “We are investing £2.3bn into mental health services and putting almost 400,000 extra people through NHS talking therapies.

“But the link between work and good mental health is clear, which is why our back to work plan will help ،dreds of t،usands including t،se with long-term health conditions to break down barriers to work.

“Inactivity has reduced by over 300,000 since the pandemic peak, and our occupational health consultation will help make sure businesses offer the best possible health support to their s،.”

The YouGov survey also found 35% of people were not comfortable voicing concerns about pressure and stress to line managers or company leaders, with 31% saying bullying and intimidation by colleagues had been the cause of their stress in the last year.

Almost half (49%) of workers suggested their employers did not have a plan in place to s، signs of chronic stress.