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Managing Mental Health as an Engineer

The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘anxiety’, something that millions of people around the world deal with on a daily basis. Anxiety, and other mental health struggles, can present themselves in a number of ways, one of which is stress and burnout at work. For people working in the technology and engineering sector, this is not uncommon. 

Different people experience stress in diverse ways, but certain symptoms came up countless times. Engineers who spoke up about their experiences with burnout due to extreme stress recalled sleepless nights being a commonality, while many said family and friends endured the most of their anxiety and anger arising at work. While serious personal and health issues often bleed into one’s everyday life, the most immediate impact is often at work. 67% of people surveyed said they have gone to work despite feeling emotionally or mentally unwell, while 42.3% said poor mental health or emotional well-being has affected their work. A common theme in those surveyed was the regret that they had continued ignoring the symptoms at work until they reached a breaking point.

In one such conversation, a participant said, “It got to the stage where I couldn’t take it. I froze in the meeting, started shaking and I had to come home.” The former consulting engineer had then been put on mandatory leave by his GP and shared that as an aftereffect, his confidence had been shattered and the incident still gives him flashbacks during his difficult days.

According to another study, found 37.2% of engineers in the UK describe their mental health as being ‘fair’ or ‘poor’, and 22% have taken time off work due to mental health struggles and emotional stress. Though it is impossible to completely remove mental health struggles from the tech and engineering industry, there are things that can be done to help.

How to Manage Mental Health in the Engineering Industry

  • Do Something That You Enjoy - It is not uncommon for engineers to spend a lot of time working, which does not leave a lot of room for doing the things that you enjoy most. It is important to make time for hobbies, passions, and self-care. Taking time out for the things that you enjoy, even if it is something as small as reading a book in the evening or going for dinner with a partner, can help to keep a person’s mental health in check by giving them the chance to relax, unwind and have fun. Though engineering can be a demanding industry to be a part of, everyone needs a break. 
  • Take Regular Breaks - Many engineers tend to overwork themselves and do not take enough breaks, even when suggested by an employer. When working in a technical field, taking breaks is a key part of avoiding burnout, and failing to do so can sometimes have an impact on mental health. It is important to step away from your desk sometimes, either for lunch or just for a change of scenery, at least a couple of times throughout the day.
  • Find Time to Exercise - Many people underestimate the impact exercise has on mental health, even though it is a proven way to lower stress levels and boost endorphins, which help in relaxing the mind and body. Whether it is a 10-minute walk at lunchtime or regular gym classes, exercise is a fantastic way of managing one’s mental health. Especially if a person’s day-to-day job involves sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time or constant screen usage. Even a small amount of exercise can make a significant difference.
  • Embrace Mindfulness and Meditation – Some engineers feel as though their mind is constantly working at an impressive pace, so slowing things down can be tough. This is where mindfulness and meditation comes in. Being mindful can open a new way of looking at life, work and finding the balance between the two. With meditation, one feels in control of their mind, which can help to reduce stress, worry and anxiety.
  • Lean on Friends and Family - There is no denying that burnout and stress can have a massive impact on those around a person, including friends and family. But these are also the people that can help navigate things better. If a person is struggling with their mental health in the workplace, talking to friends, family and colleagues may help. Letting them know how you are feeling and giving them the chance to help may be exactly what you need at the time. They can help you to relax, take a break and enjoy quality time away from engineering.

If you find yourself or someone at your workplace struggling, you can always reach out for help. Although these tips may be beneficial to manage your mental health in the short term, free and confidential resources are at your disposal if you require additional support.

If you need help urgently for your mental health, but it is not an emergency, get help from NHS 111 online or call 111

You can also text 'SHOUT' to 85258 for free, confidential assistance 24/7.

Here at Redline, we believe that our employees deserve access to the best mental health resources so they can perform at their best and have a healthy and fulfilling work life. This is why, we have partnered up with BUPA, to provide access to their free mental health helpline, along with long-term therapy options, if needed. We believe it is not WHAT we do, but HOW we do it, that makes us successful. To join our team or to hear more about jobs in the engineering and tech sector, give us a call on 01582 450054 or email us at


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