Stressed and depressed: Mental health problems are the number one reason for sick leave at Wirral Council

Stressed and depressed: Mental health problems are the number one reason for sick leave at Wirral Council   - library picture

Stressed and depressed: Mental health problems are the number one reason for sick leave at Wirral Council - library picture

First published in News Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Editor

WIRRAL Council employees will have taken an average of nearly ten days’ sick leave this year – with the majority of absences caused by stress, anxiety and depression.

A new report highlights “an increasing trend in levels of absence across the authority” with a projected end of year figure of 10.28 sick days per person against a target of 9.5.

And that number spirals for staff in social services and technical services to more than 16 days.

The review shows mental health issues continue to be the most frequent cause of absence across the council - anxiety, stress and depression are all cited.

Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said: "It is a real cause for concern and we are taking this report very seriously.

"I know HR are helping a lot of our people who are off with stress and resources have been increased to help them do that.

"Stress is the biggest cause of sickness absence across the public sector; police, NHS staff, social services, all are affected.

"It's no real surprise given that public sector workers are under the cosh so much these days from Government 'austerity' measures.

"The stress levels among our workers - who do a tremendous job day in and day out - are the sort of thing that needs to be played-back to Government to show them that people are finding it extremely difficult to cope.

"Austerity is wrong, and this is one of its byproducts."

Projected levels show 34% of council employees reporting sick will do so due to mental health problems. 

The average time taken off work due to illness across the public sector in England is around seven days, with stress being the number-one reason.

Wirral’s teachers take the fewest sick days, with around 3.8 per person projected by the end of the year.

Staffing has been increased in the local authority's human resources department to review all long-term absence cases.

Officers will work alongside managers to "ensure there is an action plan in place and that cases are managed appropriately in accordance with policy." 

There are currently 127 "live" cases on the system.

The report by HR manager Tony Williams is to the authority’s employment committee, and states: “Failure to pro-actively manage sickness absence through early intervention, improved management information and health and wellbeing initiatives could leave the council open to legal challenge and increased costs.”

The document says a number of measures have been put in place to try to reduce sickness absence including health advice, free flu jabs to key workers and “stress management tools” being made available for managers and staff.

 

Comments (22)

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11:23am Wed 21 Nov 12

bigfoot says...

Having suffered from stress which culminated in blood pressure and consequently a stroke,I heartily agree. Higher up the tree Heaven and Earth was moved to make life easier for the individual involved.
Sickness management delivered is just a string of threats made by so called 'managers'
Having suffered from stress which culminated in blood pressure and consequently a stroke,I heartily agree. Higher up the tree Heaven and Earth was moved to make life easier for the individual involved. Sickness management delivered is just a string of threats made by so called 'managers' bigfoot
  • Score: 0

1:05pm Wed 21 Nov 12

ArdalMcFardle says...

Ah yes "Absence management" Weekly visits in your own home, no exceptions as" its policy" designed to harass, oh sorry I mean help you back to work. Not fit enough ? Well how about we drop in a few hints about "capability" that should scare you back to the office, where after a phased return you find yourself in the exactly same position as when you went off sick. Risk Assessments ? Hahaha you are joking!

You really need to look at some of the managers in HR Phil old bean, it's enough to make you "shred" your hair
Ah yes "Absence management" Weekly visits in your own home, no exceptions as" its policy" designed to harass, oh sorry I mean help you back to work. Not fit enough ? Well how about we drop in a few hints about "capability" that should scare you back to the office, where after a phased return you find yourself in the exactly same position as when you went off sick. Risk Assessments ? Hahaha you are joking! You really need to look at some of the managers in HR Phil old bean, it's enough to make you "shred" your hair ArdalMcFardle
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Wed 21 Nov 12

WirralAl says...

Does this figure include the senior managers ? I bet they have brought the average days off to the maximum before big payouts.

I bet the sickness levels for all government departments are massively higher than in the commercial world. In state employment it is an accepted norm but in the real world people just have to work under pressure.
Does this figure include the senior managers ? I bet they have brought the average days off to the maximum before big payouts. I bet the sickness levels for all government departments are massively higher than in the commercial world. In state employment it is an accepted norm but in the real world people just have to work under pressure. WirralAl
  • Score: 0

3:33pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Dazzydog76 says...

One of the main causes of absenteeism of this nature is bullying. I can name you several supervisors that made life hell for staff. Management used to ignore the problem, telling the victim to go home and then move them somewhere else a month later. The bully would never be dealt with, and more often than not would be inexplicably promoted.
One of the main causes of absenteeism of this nature is bullying. I can name you several supervisors that made life hell for staff. Management used to ignore the problem, telling the victim to go home and then move them somewhere else a month later. The bully would never be dealt with, and more often than not would be inexplicably promoted. Dazzydog76
  • Score: 0

7:28pm Wed 21 Nov 12

PaulCa says...

Smoke and mirrors, deployed by an abusive council that has abused its own staff; its disabled service users; its service providers; and pretty much anybody who's had the misfortune to come into contact with it going back into the last century.

There is SO much wrong with this article and so many lies that are readily taken apart. Full marks for disingenuity.

Senior Directors have responsibilities and obligations written into the Health & Safety at Work Act requiring them to take concerted and positive action where stress has been pinpointed as a problem.

Given the experiences I had, and those of others, I doubt that Wirral's Directors have EVER heard of these, let alone implemented them.

The last Chief Executive himself, Jim Wilkie, was off for a good few months himself - but I suspect for self-induced stress after sweating on whether he would be dobbed in it for what he knew about abuses and improprieties - which luckily for him didn't happen because everybody got paid off in our money to the tune of several £100,000s.

You reap what you sow and it is hypocrisy of the highest order for this bullying crowd of wasters to try and land the blame on external influences like 'austerity'.

It is nothing to do with austerity and everything to do with grinding, churning, abnormal machinations that chew people up and spit them out broken at the other end.

What an utter, utter disgrace these hoodwinking officers and deluded councillors are.
Smoke and mirrors, deployed by an abusive council that has abused its own staff; its disabled service users; its service providers; and pretty much anybody who's had the misfortune to come into contact with it going back into the last century. There is SO much wrong with this article and so many lies that are readily taken apart. Full marks for disingenuity. Senior Directors have responsibilities and obligations written into the Health & Safety at Work Act requiring them to take concerted and positive action where stress has been pinpointed as a problem. Given the experiences I had, and those of others, I doubt that Wirral's Directors have EVER heard of these, let alone implemented them. The last Chief Executive himself, Jim Wilkie, was off for a good few months himself - but I suspect for self-induced stress after sweating on whether he would be dobbed in it for what he knew about abuses and improprieties - which luckily for him didn't happen because everybody got paid off in our money to the tune of several £100,000s. You reap what you sow and it is hypocrisy of the highest order for this bullying crowd of wasters to try and land the blame on external influences like 'austerity'. It is nothing to do with austerity and everything to do with grinding, churning, abnormal machinations that chew people up and spit them out broken at the other end. What an utter, utter disgrace these hoodwinking officers and deluded councillors are. PaulCa
  • Score: 0

11:11am Thu 22 Nov 12

Spiffy says...

Breaking News: Austerity Measures To Blame For Sh*t Happening.
...
"Government cuts"...is there *anything* they can't be blamed for.
Breaking News: Austerity Measures To Blame For Sh*t Happening. ... "Government cuts"...is there *anything* they can't be blamed for. Spiffy
  • Score: 0

11:14am Thu 22 Nov 12

Svenson says...

Well said PaulCa,I could'nt have put it better myself!
The WBC Self Preservation Society will always blame anyone except themselves for decades of greed and woeful mismanagement as they are spineless pseudo polititions at best and TOTALLY UNFIT FOR PURPOSE at worst.
Well said PaulCa,I could'nt have put it better myself! The WBC Self Preservation Society will always blame anyone except themselves for decades of greed and woeful mismanagement as they are spineless pseudo polititions at best and TOTALLY UNFIT FOR PURPOSE at worst. Svenson
  • Score: 0

11:17am Thu 22 Nov 12

Spiffy says...

The place is clearly a Health Hazard. Close it down.
The place is clearly a Health Hazard. Close it down. Spiffy
  • Score: 0

11:32am Thu 22 Nov 12

montague1 says...

When bullies are permitted to carry on doing what they do best: CAUSE STRESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IN OTHERS, then it is hardly suprising sickness levels are as high as stated.
Get rid of the Bullies and watch the sickness absence figures plummet.
More effective, less costly,and a wholly
better way to have staff helped back to good health and in work, which is where most prefer to be.
When bullies are permitted to carry on doing what they do best: CAUSE STRESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IN OTHERS, then it is hardly suprising sickness levels are as high as stated. Get rid of the Bullies and watch the sickness absence figures plummet. More effective, less costly,and a wholly better way to have staff helped back to good health and in work, which is where most prefer to be. montague1
  • Score: 0

11:33am Thu 22 Nov 12

montague1 says...

When bullies are permitted to carry on doing what they do best: CAUSE STRESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IN OTHERS, then it is hardly suprising sickness levels are as high as stated.
Get rid of the Bullies and watch the sickness absence figures plummet.
More effective, less costly,and a wholly
better way to have staff helped back to good health and in work, which is where most prefer to be.
When bullies are permitted to carry on doing what they do best: CAUSE STRESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IN OTHERS, then it is hardly suprising sickness levels are as high as stated. Get rid of the Bullies and watch the sickness absence figures plummet. More effective, less costly,and a wholly better way to have staff helped back to good health and in work, which is where most prefer to be. montague1
  • Score: 0

11:33am Thu 22 Nov 12

montague1 says...

When bullies are permitted to carry on doing what they do best: CAUSE STRESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IN OTHERS, then it is hardly suprising sickness levels are as high as stated.
Get rid of the Bullies and watch the sickness absence figures plummet.
More effective, less costly,and a wholly
better way to have staff helped back to good health and in work, which is where most prefer to be.
When bullies are permitted to carry on doing what they do best: CAUSE STRESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IN OTHERS, then it is hardly suprising sickness levels are as high as stated. Get rid of the Bullies and watch the sickness absence figures plummet. More effective, less costly,and a wholly better way to have staff helped back to good health and in work, which is where most prefer to be. montague1
  • Score: 0

11:33am Thu 22 Nov 12

montague1 says...

When bullies are permitted to carry on doing what they do best: CAUSE STRESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IN OTHERS, then it is hardly suprising sickness levels are as high as stated.
Get rid of the Bullies and watch the sickness absence figures plummet.
More effective, less costly,and a wholly
better way to have staff helped back to good health and in work, which is where most prefer to be.
When bullies are permitted to carry on doing what they do best: CAUSE STRESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IN OTHERS, then it is hardly suprising sickness levels are as high as stated. Get rid of the Bullies and watch the sickness absence figures plummet. More effective, less costly,and a wholly better way to have staff helped back to good health and in work, which is where most prefer to be. montague1
  • Score: 0

11:33am Thu 22 Nov 12

montague1 says...

When bullies are permitted to carry on doing what they do best: CAUSE STRESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IN OTHERS, then it is hardly suprising sickness levels are as high as stated.
Get rid of the Bullies and watch the sickness absence figures plummet.
More effective, less costly,and a wholly
better way to have staff helped back to good health and in work, which is where most prefer to be.
When bullies are permitted to carry on doing what they do best: CAUSE STRESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IN OTHERS, then it is hardly suprising sickness levels are as high as stated. Get rid of the Bullies and watch the sickness absence figures plummet. More effective, less costly,and a wholly better way to have staff helped back to good health and in work, which is where most prefer to be. montague1
  • Score: 0

12:26pm Thu 22 Nov 12

tigerclaw says...

Wonder where the poor stressed and depressed staff will go for help with mental health problems now that Wirral Council have issued scores of mental health professionals with 'job at risk notices' including some to the team that Mr B, AKA the smiling assassin, praised for winning an achievment award for their outsanding practice? Mr B is alright, he doesn't live on the Wirral so he can strip it to the bone and hurry off home to Liverpool every evening.
Wonder where the poor stressed and depressed staff will go for help with mental health problems now that Wirral Council have issued scores of mental health professionals with 'job at risk notices' including some to the team that Mr B, AKA the smiling assassin, praised for winning an achievment award for their outsanding practice? Mr B is alright, he doesn't live on the Wirral so he can strip it to the bone and hurry off home to Liverpool every evening. tigerclaw
  • Score: 0

7:07pm Mon 26 Nov 12

Positive thinker says...

Don't get stressed,stand your ground do the job the best you know how
Don't get stressed,stand your ground do the job the best you know how Positive thinker
  • Score: 0

9:06pm Mon 26 Nov 12

spamfiend says...

I think montague1 has a few stress issues looking at the number of the same posts lol
I think montague1 has a few stress issues looking at the number of the same posts lol spamfiend
  • Score: 0

12:12am Tue 27 Nov 12

montague1 says...

Given the National statistics regarding mental health / stress issues, just be careful the do not visit a head near you,
if indeed the have not done so already !!
Given the National statistics regarding mental health / stress issues, just be careful the do not visit a head near you, if indeed the have not done so already !! montague1
  • Score: 0

12:29am Tue 27 Nov 12

montague1 says...

PS: It is not a laughing matter !.
PS: It is not a laughing matter !. montague1
  • Score: 0

12:44am Tue 27 Nov 12

montague1 says...

PPS: Neither is bullying, and perhaps that needs saying repeatedly until the numbskulls get the message that is totally unacceptable.
They are cowards of the worst kind.
Get it? Got it? Good !!.
PPS: Neither is bullying, and perhaps that needs saying repeatedly until the numbskulls get the message that is totally unacceptable. They are cowards of the worst kind. Get it? Got it? Good !!. montague1
  • Score: 0

3:36pm Tue 27 Nov 12

MrAngryBebington says...

It is not bullying that is causing so much stress. Its staff not knowing whats going on or where they are supposed to be going on a huge rudderless ship that has not been strategically steered, with a proper forward course plotted for many years. Sorry for all the maritime analogies!!
It is not bullying that is causing so much stress. Its staff not knowing whats going on or where they are supposed to be going on a huge rudderless ship that has not been strategically steered, with a proper forward course plotted for many years. Sorry for all the maritime analogies!! MrAngryBebington
  • Score: 0

5:31pm Tue 27 Nov 12

montague1 says...

Whilst I agree bullying is not the sole cause of stress/depression/et
c among staff, believe me, it is a major contributor.
I know this for a fact!.
I also agree with your "maritime analogies".
None of the senior managers would ever make the rank of Captain. either in industry or on a ship. Unless of course we are referring to something like the Titanic!!
Whilst I agree bullying is not the sole cause of stress/depression/et c among staff, believe me, it is a major contributor. I know this for a fact!. I also agree with your "maritime analogies". None of the senior managers would ever make the rank of Captain. either in industry or on a ship. Unless of course we are referring to something like the Titanic!! montague1
  • Score: 0

12:16pm Fri 30 Nov 12

PaulCa says...

There's much assistance here if you're either ill or in dispute and e.g. Wirral Council are currently putting you through hell and making your life unbearable:

http://easyvirtualas
sistance.wordpress.c
om/2011/09/24/in-tro
uble-at-work-hit-you
r-employer-with-some
-well-chosen-words-t
o-keep-them-on-task/
There's much assistance here if you're either ill or in dispute and e.g. Wirral Council are currently putting you through hell and making your life unbearable: http://easyvirtualas sistance.wordpress.c om/2011/09/24/in-tro uble-at-work-hit-you r-employer-with-some -well-chosen-words-t o-keep-them-on-task/ PaulCa
  • Score: 0

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