Bankers in London Need Mental Help

By: EW News Desk Team   Date: 20 November 2011

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20 November 2011

The banking industry may have a reputation for its generous bonuses, but as we all know, money does not always bring happiness. In London, psychologists are reporting a higher rate of depression, insomnia and stress-related problems among bankers.

According to a report from the AFP, the phenomenon came to light when Antonio Horta-Osario, chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, announced that he was taking a medical leave of absence until the end of year. Reports claim the director, who earns a basic annual salary of £1 million ($1.57 million), was suffering from fatigue after just six months at the helm of the bailed-out bank.

Dr. Michael Sinclair, clinical director of City Psychology Group, thinks this is just the tip of a worrying trend among bankers.

"There's definitely an increase in (patients) presenting to us with stress-related conditions, a whole host of anxiety disorder and depression," Sinclair told AFP.

Sinclair blames the current economic turmoil for the growth in cases of stress-related illness, which can cause a range of physical symptoms including headaches, back pain, heart conditions and insomnia.

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Professor of psychology and health at Lancaster University, Cary Cooper, agrees:

Since the recession, things have changed. In the wake of the global economic crisis, many companies were forced to shed employees and increase workloads for their current workers, which has driven up stress levels.

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In this high-pressure industry, Cooper suggests there is a 'survival of the fittest' mentality, where bankers, brokers, traders and other managers are likely to conceal their stress symptoms from their employers. 

"The majority of people working the financial sector would not admit to not coping because it could mean they are highly vulnerable to job loss," Cooper said.

In 2008, Bloomberg reported a trend in “bankers using secret clinics, and nurses to beat breakdowns.”

Fifty-eight percent of people working in banking and finance say they have seen someone cry as a result of stress at work, according to the 2008 Bloomberg report.

According to a 2008 industry survey, the banking industry was ranked the last, based on 2,000 responses from people in 20 professions.

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