A survey, “Whose Life is it Anyway?” compiled by the Mental Health Foundation, has found that Britain.s intense work culture is having very serious effects on mental health. In what is already the EU.s hardest working country (in hours, at least), 61% of workers interviewed were suffering severe disruption to their personal lives due to having to work excessively long hours. This is hardly surprising - between 2001 and 2003, the number of people working more than 60 hours increased from 1 in 8 to 1 in 6. Within the same period, the number of women working over 60 hours doubled.

The report found that 48% of people sacrifice exercise to work longer hours, with 45% saying they lost time with partners and 42% losing contact with friends and other social activities due to overwork. A clear linkage was established, finding that workers experiencing pressure of overwork are more likely to suffer specific mental health problems, including from irritability and anxiety, to depression, to attempted suicide.

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