One of the country’s leading mental health charities, Anxiety UK, has raised concerns that not enough is being done by employers and administrators to support staff facing redundancy.
The recent run of redundancies in the retail sector with closures at HMV, Blockbuster and Jessops has left over 9,000 staff this year alone facing a worrying and uncertain future in a bleak job market.
Their comments came as news was announced that the UK economy shrank by 0.3% in the last quarter of 2012 fuelling fears of even more closures in the months ahead.
The very tragic death of one young man in the North West who lost his job in one of the closures has highlighted just how difficult and stressful an impending redundancy can be says Anxiety UK.
The charity wants businesses facing potential liquidation and administrators handling insolvency to work with the voluntary sector to signpost staff to agencies that can help them through the worrying and uncertainty they face.
Anxiety UK Chief Executive Nicky Lidbetter said: “In these difficult and uncertain economic times it is very worrying to hear of so many businesses facing closure, not least on our high streets.
“We have sadly already seen the impact this can have and there are almost certainly many more people facing some tough and stressful months ahead of them.
“While employers do all they can to manage the transition for their staff, helping them with training and searching for new job opportunities, we are concerned that not enough thought is given to their mental health and wellbeing in these situations.”
“We would like to see employers who are facing closure think about the wellbeing needs of the staff that they are going to lay off – we know that work keeps people mentally well and that being off work is not good for wellbeing.
“Therefore, because this is well known and documented, it stands to reason that ‘exit programmes for staff facing redundancies’ should routinely consider this matter.
“We would urge any business facing closure to ensure their staff know where they can turn to for help, who is available to support their employees if they need to talk to someone about their anxieties and fears.”’
If you are suffering any form of anxiety because of redundancy or threat of redundancy or you are an employer faced with closing your business and want to speak to someone or wanted advice please visit our website www.anxietyuk.org.uk or call our helpline on 08444 775774.