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Mental health staff on long-term stress leave up 22%

Mental health staff on longImage caption Some trusts saw the number of staff taking long-term leave double in five years

The number of NHS mental health staff who have had to take sick leave because of their own mental health issues has risen by 22% in the past five years.

Those taking long-term leave of a month or more rose from 7,580 in 2012-13 to 9,285 in 2016-17, BBC freedom of information requests found.

The union Unite said cuts to staff and services were putting extra pressure on front-line mental health workers.

The Department of Health said it was transforming mental health care.

Out of 81 mental health authorities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, 58 provided the BBC with comparable information.

Looking after ourselves

One mental health doctor who had to take mental health leave told 5 live anonymously: “I don’t think I realised it was happening until quite a long way down the road.”

She explained that she was getting irritable with her partner, her sleep was disturbed and she couldn’t switch off from work.

“In the end, I went to my GP who offered me a sick note. I was quite taken aback that it was quite so obvious to my GP that I needed to be off work.” she said.


Media captionFormer mental health nurse on why she had to leave the NHS

“As mental health practitioners, we are pretty rubbish at putting our own mental health first. You need to put your own oxygen mask on first before putting it on to someone else.”

5 live also spoke to a group of community mental health nurses at the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust about how they cope with the pressure of the role.

“I think when you’re so passionate about something it’s very easy to overlook just how much you are taking on,” said Kate Ward, an occupational therapist working as a care co-ordinator in the team.

Read More: http://snip.ly/okuj8#http://www.bbc.com/news/health-41172805

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