Stress worries over Flintshire council staff sickness

Stressed worker at desk Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Staff at Flintshire were off sick for an average of 10 days each last year, new figures show

Concerns have been raised about the number of Flintshire County Council staff who have been off work because of mental health-related issues.

Figures show they took an average of more than 10 days of sickness absence in 2018/19, up from just under nine days for the previous year.

Stress, depression and anxiety were cited as the main causes.

The human resources chief said it appeared most staff were affected by personal, rather than work, problems.

Sharon Carney, Flintshire's senior manager for human resources, said: "Quite often, something which on the face of it seems trivial in work can be the thing that tips them over."

Flintshire's chief executive Colin Everett told councillors extra support was being put in place for employees.

"There are cases I've dealt with where people have been dealing with family bereavement," he said.

"There have also been cases where people are actually in 'in-work' poverty."

Mr Everett there was more "legitimacy" now for people to express, report and deal with mental health issues.

Senior officers said the figures reflected the pattern seen across other local authorities in Wales, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The figure of 10 days' sickness per employee is similar to Wales-wide figures released in 2017 by the Welsh Local Government Association.

At the time it said council staff were "having to deliver services in increasingly challenging circumstances, meeting increasing demands but with fewer resources".

Jenny Murphy, chief executive of North East Wales Mind, said the charity had been running courses with Flintshire to help staff manage their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

"It is vitally important that organisations do all they can to help their staff deal with the pressures they face," she said.

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