22%. This is the official percentage by which long-term sick leave has increased for NHS mental health staff needing to deal with their own mental health.
Long-term leave is classed as leave lasting at least a month and the figures break down like this:
- 2012-2013: 7,580
- 2016-2017: 9,285
Healthcare union, Unite, has laid the blame squarely on the way cuts have affected staff and the service they offer. It says that the pressure is too much for some mental health workers.
One mental health doctor has spoken about her experience and revealed: “I don’t think I realised it was happening until quite a long way down the road.”
She has described how she had become irritable and couldn’t take her mind off her work when she was away from the workplace.
“In the end, I went to my GP who offered me a sick note. I was quite taken aback that it was quite so obvious to my GP that I needed to be off work.” she said.
“As mental health practitioners, we are pretty rubbish at putting our own mental health first. You need to put your own oxygen mask on first before putting it on to someone else.”