80% manufacturing and utilities employees in the Midlands admit to experiencing stress that they struggle to cope with

Research carried out by Aquarius Life as part of Mental Health Awareness Week (14th-20th May) has found that 80% of manufacturing and utilities employees in the Midlands experience stress that they struggle to cope with, with 5% admitting to turning to alcohol or drugs to help deal with stress or pressure.

Aquarius Life is a newly launched service by Aquarius, a unique Midlands based charity that has over 40 years' experience supporting individuals, families, organisations and communities to overcome the physical, emotional and psychological harms caused by alcohol, drugs and gambling.

While 51% of respondents confirmed that the use of alcohol or drugs is having a negative impact on their own work performance, 66% of the people surveyed also raised concerns about the negative impact of pressure and stress on the performance of their co-workers. The results of the survey found that more than a third (38%) of respondents have suspected a colleague of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while in the workplace.

Despite these startling findings about the stresses and pressure, employees are not willing to confide in their employer about the pressure or personal issues they are experiencing, with 43% stating they do not feel comfortable confiding in anyone at work and over half (52%) are not willing to confide in their manager because they don't want them to know about their personal struggles. In fact, 85% of respondents claim to actively mask the way they are feeling at work when struggling to cope with pressure or stress.

The research carried out by Aquarius Life highlights that organisations in the Midlands must do more to offer meaningful support to their employees to manage their overall physical and mental wellbeing. 71% of respondents said they were unsure of the support available to them at work to help them with pressure, stress or personal issues and 69% felt there wasn't enough support at work to help them.

The stark findings of this survey have led Aquarius to set up its new service, Aquarius Life, which works in partnership with employers across the Midlands and beyond to help create a positive culture of wellbeing in the workplace and provide support to managers and their employees.

Aquarius offers a range of professional services related to problems arising from the use of alcohol, drugs and gambling, as well as emotional wellbeing and psychological health. By working closely with management and HR teams, Aquarius Life can develop solutions tailored to individual organisations that can address common issues such as absenteeism, productivity and employee retention.

Aquarius Life also works with organisations to provide tailored awareness programmes, one-to-one and group support, as well as help with policy audits and strategic development.

Annette Fleming, CEO of Aquarius, said: "The results of our latest research are clear – at times, most of us can find it hard to deal with the day-to-day pressures of balancing our work and personal lives. In fact, 80% of manufacturing and utilities employees in the Midlands confirm they experience stress that they struggle to cope with. That's why, we believe it's time for employers to act.

"We believe that organisations play an important role in supporting their employees' wellbeing – in and outside the workplace. By supporting employees, companies can expect to see a positive impact on their bottom line. An engaged, motivated and supported workforce can lead to improved productivity. Better job satisfaction will lead to a reduction in recruitment costs. By working with organisations to support their employees, we hope to make a real impact on the wellbeing of the workforce and the organisation's overall performance.

"All of the support services we have developed at Aquarius over the last 40 years have been underpinned by robust research and evidence – research was where our journey began and we are proud to continue that tradition in 2018."

To mark the launch of this new service, Aquarius Life has created a handy guide for organisations, which is downloadable from the Aquarius Life website. The guide provides a step-by-step process for creating a healthy workplace, as well as useful signs to look out for when spotting an employee who may be struggling, and outlines the money organisations could save by investing in the wellbeing of their workforce.

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