Administration and Leadership, News

Survey: U.K. Ambulance Staff Suffering Mental Health Problems at Epidemic Levels

Above, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration photo.

A survey of ambulance staff in the United Kingdom suggests they are suffering mental health problems at epidemic levels.

The survey’s initial findings by Unite, the U.K.’s and Ireland’s largest union, were released to coincide with World Mental Health day on Thursday. About 550 people took part in the survey.

The survey found that over half (54 percent) of ambulance staff have suffered from anxiety while 44 percent said they had suffered from depression. Two thirds of them (67 percent) were excessively irritable or angry and over three quarters (77 percent) were suffering from stress.

Nearly a fifth (17 percent) of respondents also reported trauma as a result of their work responding to life-threatening emergencies.

Workers recorded the primary reasons for experiencing stress at work were excessive workloads, unrealistic targets, late finishes, the lack of flexible working and a lack of consultation on changes at work.

Nearly a third reported having been diagnosed with a mental health problem and the vast majority of those said that their work contributed significantly in causing their mental health problem or had made it worse.

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents stated that their employer was not understanding to people with mental health issues.