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GPs should get mental health days to cope with stress, urges charity

Doctors should get two ‘mental health days’ a year to prevent stress escalating into a long-term issue, the Mental Health Foundation has said.

The recommendation comes as results from the UK’s largest stress survey reveal that 74% of the UK population have felt ‘overwhelmed or unable to cope’ at some point during the last year.

The survey, commissioned by the charity to mark the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week, also found that almost a third of people (32%) had experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of stress.

In November 2017 a Pulse survey revealed that almost half of GPs said their ability to care for patients had been affected by stress, with one in nine GPs revealing they had turned to alcohol as a result.

A spokesperson from the Mental Health Foundation said: 'Governments across the UK should introduce a minimum of two ‘mental health days’ for every public sector worker. Our nurses, doctors, police officers and school staff are under immense pressure due to cuts across the public sector.

'Introducing and incentivising the use of mental health days could help prevent stress escalating and turning into longer-term sickness absence by encouraging self-care.'

According to the Office for National Statistics, stress and other mental health problems are the fourth most common reason for work sickness absence.

In January last year a dedicated service for GPs experiencing mental health issues was launched following lengthy lobbying for Government funding – including via Pulse’s Battling Burnout campaign.

The GP Health Service saw some 50 GPs seek treatment in its first week and as of the end of March 2018 a total of 1,025 GPs were registered with the service.

Readers' comments (8)

  • Will the mandatory mental health day off include training on how to cope with all the extra work held over/left for you after your "stress busting" away day?

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  • David Banner

    What about the stress for the poor sods left behind doing all the work on your “stress day” off?

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  • Utter crap.

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  • Is this not just 2 extra days off a year? I could see how this might backfire on those with genuine mental health problems "oh you have had your mental health days off, didn't you use them to reduce your stress?".

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  • I think the idea of a "mental health day" is like a sick day - you wake up, decide you need it, and phone in.

    How will that go down with the patients who booked their appointment over 2 weeks ago?

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  • I think us being provided with 2 days off per year for this is excellent idea for stress management - but that would be assuming the locum cover is a. completely paid for and b.available....I see that aspect wasn't mentioned in the article...

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  • 1) Two days a year?! Pittins.
    2) who picks up the slack for all this collective time off? Yes that’s right, you. So those two days off become even more pathetic at trying to solve the issue.

    Decapitation and band aids huh

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  • They do not actually want the days, just less work and less regulation will do.

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