Care work impacting mental health of employees, survey finds.

Four in five care sector employees believe their work has had an impact on their mental health.

The findings have been revealed in a report by the National Association of Care and Support Workers (NACAS), which aims to gain an understanding of the experiences of the social care workforce.

Results showed a third (32%) of people who felt care work had impacted their mental health received some formal professional diagnosis, while 60% did not take time off work.

A total of 195 respondents (31%) took time off work, with results showing the minimum amount of time taken off collectively in this sample to be 6,196 days. The report said: ‘This is equivalent to just under 17 years and an average of 9.9 days per respondent (across all 628 respondents). Over a quarter of respondents who had taken time off took more than one month off (27%).’

The annual survey found staff experienced burn-out and felt unsupported. The lack of funding in the sector was also a major issue for those who responded to the survey.

Those who had worked in the sector for fewer than 12 months were less likely to have experienced or felt close to experiencing burn out. Respondents who had worked in the sector for between one and two years were most likely to have experienced burn out, with 92% saying ‘yes’.

In terms of pay, only 49% believe the money they earned was enough to cover bills and food, while almost a third (33%) felt their wage was not enough to cover their bills and buy food.

The report, The Well-Being of Professional Care Workers, which has been released today (Wednesday 4 September) to coincide with Professional Care Workers’ Day 2019, called for adequate funding in the sector, employee assistance programmes and mental health first aid, better training and registered care managers relief.

At the launch of the report on Wednesday, Louie Werth, director of Care Research, which carried out the survey, said: ‘Perceptions [of the workforce] are changing but there needs to be more change.’

A full breakdown of the findings will be available in the October issue of CM.