Figures released in October show that employees took 15.7m days off sick due to work-related mental ill health in 2017/18, the highest since the Health and Safety Executive started routinely collecting the data in the early 2000s.
The number of people saying they had work-related stress leapt by 13% compared to the year before, according to the data, which is drawn from the Labour Force Survey.
595,000 people said that they were suffering from stress, anxiety or depression that was caused or made worse by work last year. In 2016/17, the figure stood at 526,000.
The number of people with a condition rose for the fourth year in a row and is now 35% higher than in 2014/15.
Rates of occupational illnes are highest in the civil service – around 40% higher than the average across all industries.
Prospect’s deputy general secretary Garry Graham said: “The figures show that for hard-working employees and civil servants, austerity isn’t over.
“Work-related stress seems to be reaching epidemic proportions. Workers are struggling under mounting workloads in teams that get ever smaller, wondering whether their job will be the next to go.
“Tried and tested methods for preventing work-related stress have been around for years, but too many employers still don’t have a clue about how to tackle it in the workplace.
“We call on employers to work with Prospect health and safety reps to understand and control the issues at work causing stress.
“As well as improving employee health and reducing sickness absence, tackling stress will help boost productivity, which in the UK continues to languish behind other developed countries,” he concluded.