Depression in the profession

Robert Lovell
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Whatever your political beliefs, Ed Milliband’s speech about mental health earlier this week strikes me as a watershed moment, says Wendy Saunders, head of development at the Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association (CABA).

It is the first time, so far as anyone at CABA can recall, that a figure within the Westminster village has highlighted the impact that this serious problem has on individuals and society overall.

The Labour leader called mental illness the "biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age” and pointed to estimates that suggested it costs businesses £26bn every year – a figure large enough that it should catch the attention of chartered accountants.

CABA speaks to an increasing number of accountants who either bring their mental health problems to us or who, from our conversations with them, are clearly suffering from mental health issues to such an extent that their work and home lives are being affected. The severity of their issues varies widely but some are very distressed.

The good news for these people is that proven help is available from sources such as CABA or, of course, from your GP.

While the taboo around mental illness is perhaps starting to fade, it is important to point out that this is treated as highly confidential.

So, if you feel that you have a problem, there is no reason not to pick up the phone.

Wendy Saunders is the head of development at the Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association (CABA).

About Robert Lovell

Business and finance journalist


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    By Old Greying Accountant
    01st Nov 2012 11:46

    I think this is across all walks of life ...

    ... but particulary clerical rather than manual employments, and my personal view is that the root cause is the fact we don't even have a veneer of having real control over our lives any more due to many reasons, not least being government meddling (of which ironically Mr Milliband's party are the worst offenders) and big business treating people as just another consumable (be it their suppliers, their workers or their customers).

    One illustration of the wrongs of modern life is that many people without televisions are hounded relentlessly by the licensing authority, so much so many buy a licence even though they have no set just to make it stop, yet the corporation it subsidies appears to let sex abuse and paedophilia run rife in its corridors!

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    02nd Nov 2012 13:00

    I Agree

    The increase in ridiculous legislation has the following effect on the worriers.

    1, The fear of prosecution and fines for unseen money laundering compliance health and safety and employment law, corporate manslaughter making you responsible for every idiot on the planet etc etc

    2, More Power given to the state bullies

    3, More time spent on internal compliance and recording of things that took place anyway.

    4, Less time to do your work and make a profit.

    5, Unscrupulous competition given an advantage because they don't worry about any of the above and are therefore much cheaper

    6, Honest clients under so much pressure caused by the same problems of competing with business that does not pay its taxes.

    7, Government (HMRC) policy of pursuing the willing and letting the crims get away with it.

    7a. A Government created recession

    8, Then subjected to idiotic reports and political comments which show a clear misunderstanding of the subject.

    9, If you are not susceptible to mental illness, as in don't worry or don't give a s***, you are o.k.and perfectly adjusted.....probably because your frontal lobes responsible for empathy are not working.

    Is there an accountant out there not stressed?

    How does the saying go? "one in three accountants have an alcohol problem, and the other two are surprised that the figure was that low."

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