84% of GP appointments are stress-related

Despite GPs reporting that 84 per cent of consultations are related to stress and anxiety, the reality is that a lack of research, understanding and support continues to hold sufferers back.

In the case of 43-year-old Lin, crippling anxiety has locked her out of the jobs market for the best part of 20 years. “I had my first panic attack when I was around 26. I was so traumatised by what had happened that it scared me for 20 years,” she says.

“To this day it has an impact on my work. I’d planned to go into a marketing career, but I started and stopped many jobs, and just could not hold them down. At the time I felt I couldn’t explain as, if I didn’t know what was going on in my mind, how would anyone else understand? Now I mostly do typing work from home, or odd bits of work I can cope with, like cleaning a friend’s house, and care work for family.”

What to do if you’re struggling

If you’re struggling with workplace anxiety, Anxiety UK advises “raising issues early on at supervision meetings with your manager, and requesting adjustments like more flexible working, or sitting near a window.” It’s also helpful to be aware of your triggers, and work with colleagues, HR, or your GP to find coping strategies that work for you – be it mindfulness practice during your lunch break, a better work-life balance, or remembering to savour your successes.

“Above all, it’s so important that employers invest in the mental wellbeing of their staff. A mentally healthy workplace makes for a productive one, so it’s in everyone’s interest to ensure that awareness of mental health issues is high on every employers’ agenda.” Nicky Lidbetter