A significant number of people juggling work and caring responsibilities are enduring mental health issues and financial pressures, according to Better Care Better Business, a new study by Ibec, Ireland’s largest business representative group.

The research found that half of the 1,200 people who participated in the survey said that they were a primary carer, with a quarter of that cohort providing care to an adult. Of those who indicated that they were carers, 63% were also in employment and an overwhelming majority (73%) admitted to difficulties in finding a balance between these competing demands. Indeed, a large proportion (67%) also considered work to be an escape from their caring responsibilities.

Just over three in 10 (31%) believe that being a carer has impinged on how they do their jobs. Almost three fifths (57%) of the individuals polled said that their employer was flexible when it came to accommodating caring responsibilities. However, only 29% were aware of a company policy regarding the issue and 21% said that they had, on at least one occasion, been granted paid leave to attend to carer duties.

Worryingly, Ibec’s report found that 63% think that these challenges are having a negative impact on their mental health.

The new analysis suggests that Ireland’s ageing population – and a resultant growth in the number of working-age adults with caring responsibilities – risks corroding the readiness and availability of the country’s labour force. Most of those affected, it says, will be women.

Additional employer supports, therefore, are vital. Responsible workplaces are increasingly focused on their workers’ mental health, providing them with the tools they need to stay well in their jobs and, fortunately, excellent resources are available.

The Inspire Support Hub exists to help employees. It hosts lots of information on key issues, including work-life balance, as well as an extensive digest of learning programmes, mental health guides and self-help programmes. In addition, the Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing database is home to lots of ideas and activities centred on sustaining positive mental health.

If you would like find out more about our workplace services, click here. You can also reach out to us via e-mail: enquiries@inspirewellbeing.org.

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