Belfast Telegraph

Thousands of civil service staff took sick leave with mental illness

Thousands of civil servants took sick leave last year because of mental illness, it has been revealed.

Figures obtained using Freedom of Information by the BBC Stephen Nolan Show, reveal over 2,000 workers took sick leave last year with a mental health illness stated.

In total over 94,000 working days were lost during the 12 months.

What was formerly the Department of Social Development, before the Executive reorganisation, had the highest number of absentees with mental health related illness which is classed as anxiety/stress/depression/Other psychiatric illnesses.

Bumper Graham from the public service union NIPSA said there were "simple reasons behind the increase".

He said: "We have had massive loss of jobs in the civil service and that means those left behind are having to do a lot more work in very difficult situations.

"We have seen constant attacks on civil servants from the Executive and Westminster and therefore they are feeling undervalued. They are demoralised and they are overburdened.

"And things management are doing is trying to treat those suffering from mental health, when we want them to work to prevent illnesses arising."

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