FORMER top cop Dudley Butt dealt well with the pressures of his job.
He was able to cope with the situations he investigated, including murders, as a Detective Chief Inspector in CID.
But Mr Butt acknowledged that many people cannot deal with stressful situations at work.
‘Depression is a significant cause of absence from work,’ he told an audience of business people at a seminar on stress in the workplace.
‘I was a police officer and I had my fair share of stress but I was able to deal with it,’ said Mr Butt.
Speaking in his capacity as a member of the Legislative Council (MLC) Mr Butt said the World Health Organisation recognised there was an ‘unparalleled’ health crisis with depression above cancer and heart disease. He said the Isle of Man government has recently produced a major document outlining a Strategy for Health.
The document can be found on the government website and mental health forms a ‘very big part’ of the strategy.
‘In CID we had a lot of pressure and there is nothing wrong with pressure. But if it becomes too much it can lead to depression,’ said Mr Butt.
One in four people will suffer mental health illness of some sort, he told the audience at the Sefton Hotel, Douglas.
Mr Butt told the seminar that he had not taken a single day off sick in his 39 years as a serving police officer and six years at Tynwald.
‘I’ve enjoyed every second,’ he said.
As a detective he had investigated a number of murders and had been on duty after the Summerland fire tragedy.
And the last time he had spoken in the same room at the Sefton Hotel he had the emotional task of informing families of the tragic Solway Harvester crew that their bodies had been recovered from the wreckage.
Rachel Shepherd, managing director of Orchard Recruitment is also a qualified counsellor and told the seminar that workplace stress can have a damaging effect on staff who had to do extra work to cover for their sick and absent colleagues.
She said it was important for businesses to take the time to listen to employees to ensure everything is OK. But she said the ‘best defence of all’ in coping with stressful situations was a sense of humour.
Darran Kenna, of training company Resolve, is also a qualified hypnotherapist and said the best way businesses could handle the situation was ‘dealing with stress before it happens’.
Mr Kenna said stress was seen in some quarters as the ‘new bad back’ and some people did ‘swing the lead’ to get time off. But he stressed a ‘huge number of people do not’.
He quoted figures from the mental health charity Mind that indicated 41 per cent of people were scared to say they had stress because they were afraid they would be seen to be not capable of doing their job by their employers. They were also afraid of being lined up to be next for redundancy.
Mr Kenna said millions of working days are lost every year because of ill health.
Resolve can be contacted on 249471.