Distressed: Work uncertainty and productivity drives are getting staff down. Photo: Julian Kingma
One in seven Australians admits to experiencing severe to extremely severe depressive symptoms with almost half citing job-related issues as a source of the stress.
The latest snapshot of the nation’s mental health by the Australian Pyschological Society paints a distressing picture of workers, with an increasing number reporting they are suffering immense pressure.
The survey, released on Sunday, found a significant decline in workplace wellbeing with workers being driven to despair as more pressure is put on increasing productivity and jobs become increasingly insecure.
The society’s executive director, Lyn Littlefield, said the findings reflected the fragile economic environment.
”There is much more pressure on the employers and the leaders to get performance out of their workers,” Professor Littlefield said.
”A lot of industries are closing down, there are huge redundancies. People feel quite uncertain about the ongoing nature of their work. It cascades down. The employer feels the pressure to get a good financial result. They put more pressure on the employees and so it goes.”
The survey of 1500 people, which included almost 1000 workers, found that working Australians reported lower levels of wellbeing, job satisfaction and interest in their job, compared with previous years. Workers under the most pressure were aged between 36 and 45.
Professor Littlefield said workplace stress was one of the most common causes of compensation claims and called on employers to improve their practices.
”The more stressed people are, workers compensation claims go up,” she said.
”We know that wellbeing improves productivity. By turning things around, the employer gets a benefit.”
Worrying about money was the top source of stress identified in the research, with people aged 18 to 25 most likely to be anxious about their finances.
”People are worried about whether they will have enough money for everyday living requirements,” Professor Littlefield said.
One in seven participants reported depressive symptoms in the severe to extremely severe range, with significantly more reporting moderate to severe levels of distress compared with previous years.
”People are reporting a considerable impact of that on their physical health and even on their mental health. It is having quite a widespread affect.”