THERE IS A LINK between stress at work and high blood pressure, heart diseases and diabetes, says Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo.
She was speaking yesterday at a workshop put on by the Caribbean Tertiary Level Personnel Association (CTLPA) at the Savannah Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church, with the theme Managing Everyday Stress: Steps Towards Boosting Workplace Productivity.
Byer-Suckoo said that a 2006 survey by the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) revealed that a number of employees suffered from stress.
“There is a growing concern about the increasing tendency of our population to be affected by chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCD) such as high blood pressure, heart diseases and diabetes.
“In some cases these conditions may be developed or aggravated as a result of stress . . . in their personal lives or work lives.
“It is only when that person deals with their stress that we begin to see the blood pressure starting to reduce,” said Byer-Suckoo
“It is important to note that stress is a workplace issue which if not controlled can have a negative impact on the individual, the business and the nation,” the minister said.
“In order to avoid this, we must come together and devise strategies to grapple with the situation,” she added.
Byer-Suckoo, who is a medical doctor, noted that when an individual left the workplace they did not leave the stress behind.
She further stated that CNCD was responsible for over half of all deaths in the Caribbean, of which 30 per cent were due to heart disease.
“It stands to reason then, that all occupational stress must be managed effectively in order to foster wellness in the workplace.
“Wellness programmes have an integral role to play in the world of work today, in that they counter our sedentary lifestyles and most significantly our levels of stress,” she said.
The minister was in favour of more research, noting that work needed to be undertaken that would provide national or regional data on the magnitude of stress in the workplace “thus enabling us to tackle the problem more aggressively”. (MM)