Mental Health Awareness Week – Dealing with Anxiety

Anxiety is the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (15-21 May 2023) and so here at Envu, we’re building on our partnership with the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably). Together we’re shining a light on the issue of anxiety and offering practical help for those working in pest control.

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Mental Health Awareness Week - CALM

The nature of pest control often means that operatives spend a lot of time working alone. With a proven link between lone working and vulnerability to work related stress, operatives are prone to mental health problems which can manifest in a multitude of ways, from depression and anxiety to an increased risk of suicide, especially among men.

Nicola Parks, Senior Corporate Fundraising Officer from CALM explains:

Every week 125 people in the UK take their own lives. And 75% of these suicides are male. Research shows that the pest control industry has a higher risk of suicide. That's why it’s crucial we’re working with Envu, who are committed to helping us raise awareness of these issues and highlight the support that is available if anyone is going through a tough time.”

Symptoms of anxiety

CALM describes anxiety as a feeling of nervousness that begins to take over daily life. As with all mental health conditions, recognising the early signs is key, as is an understanding that everyone’s experience is different. Individuals may experience single or multiple symptoms to varying degrees. Anxiety awareness can be the first step to getting the help needed.

Here’s what to look out for...  

  • Feeling panicky or on the edge, often for long periods of time.
  • Difficulty sleeping because of recurrent worries or thoughts.
  • Panic attacks or intense periods of fear and discomfort.
  • A compulsion to carry out certain rituals to keep things from going wrong.
  • Physical symptoms like sweaty palms, dry mouth, or tense muscles.
  • Increased heart rate and/or shallower breathing,
  • Avoid certain situations or things in everyday life because of nervousness and worries.


Anxiety at work

Figures published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)1 for 2021/22, show that of the 1.8 million workers suffering from a work-related illness, 914,000 were stress, depression, or anxiety. Over half of working days are lost due to work-related stress, depression, or anxiety (17 million).

In addition to charities such as CALM, help is on hand for those in pest control thanks to the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), who have taken positive action to address the issue of mental health in the sector. Ian Andrew, Chief Executive at BPCA, believes mental wellbeing should be a top priority for pest control employers. He said:

“It’s important that we talk about mental health openly. In most cases, people’s mental health is affected by a combination of problems at home and at work. That’s why employers have a responsibility to make sure that we’re providing the right kind of managerial support and signposting where needed.”

“It is often easier to think about this stuff when something big happens, but we need to remember that the wellbeing of ourselves and our staff is a 24/7 thing. If it is an afterthought, it is probably already too late.”

Ian continued, “We have information on the  BPCA website, on mental health and wellbeing for pest controllers, which includes tips on self-care, what employers can do to help, and a list of resources at the end. Don’t let your problems overwhelm you – talk about them and use the resources available.”


Envu and CALM partnership

Envu is working with CALM to promote the conversation about mental health in the pest control sector, sharing advice to help combat the escalation of anxiety in the work place.

The BPCA provides specific advice on wellbeing for pest management companies and CALM also has information about how to combat anxiety.

Mental Health Awareness Week – Dealing with Anxiety

For further help, connect with CALM using the links below.