5. Help for workers on stress at work

Spotting signs of stress

If you are stressed you may notice changes in the way you think or feel, for example:

  • feeling negative
  • being indecisive
  • feeling isolated
  • feeling nervous
  • being unable to concentrate

You may act differently, for example:

  • eat more or less than usual
  • smoke, drink or take drugs 'to cope'
  • have difficulty sleeping

If you are feeling signs of stress at work, it is important to talk to someone, for example your manager. If you talk to them as soon as possible, it will give them the chance to help and stop the situation getting worse.

If the pressure is due to what your line manager is doing, find out what policies are in place to deal with this. If there aren't any, you could talk to your:

  • trade union representative
  • worker representative
  • HR department
  • worker assistance programme/counselling service if your company has these
  • first aider trained to support people experiencing mental health
  • GP

Many workers are unwilling to talk about stress at work, because of the stigma stress has. But stress is not a weakness and can happen to anyone.

What your employer must do

Your employer has a legal duty to assess the risks to your health from stress at work and share the results of any risk assessment with you. Your employer may follow HSE's Management Standards approach, which help identify and manage the main causes of stress at work.

Employers must assess and manage all work-related risks. They should act to protect workers, and others, from any identified physical or mental health risks.

Help from the NHS and others

If you're finding it hard to cope with stress you can get help from the NHS (nhs.co.uk). They also provide links to other sources of support and information.

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Updated 2024-06-04