Research — 26 April 2018

AUSTRALIAN employees are more stressed out, anxious and depressed than ever before, alarming new research has revealed.

Picture: iStock Source:istock 

A SURVEY of thousands of Australians has found a third of workers are affected by mental illness, with depression the most common disorder.

Australia’s Biggest Mental Health Check-In was conducted by mental health technology company Medibio, and it revealed 36 per cent of respondents suffered from depression, 33 per cent from anxiety and 31 per cent from stress.

It was the first time depression had exceeded anxiety, as anxiety has traditionally been twice as common as depression in Australia.

Medibio’s senior vice president of corporate health, psychologist and check-in program creator Peta Slocombe said employers needed to address the mental health needs of workers.

“A decade ago one in five Australians were found to be suffering from a mental illness in any given year,” she said.

“The manner in which we all live, work and interact has changed radically since then — to the detriment of our mental health. 

“And yet organisational approaches to mental health have not kept pace. It is now vital for all organisations, from government to business, to change the way they address this major societal challenge.”

Ms Slocombe said poor mental health also affected our bottom line.

“Depression is estimated to cost Australia $12.6 billion annually and this year’s Check-In shows the issue is rising — cutting across all aspects of society,” she said.

“It’s clear, then, that we need a change in addressing mental illness. Using innovative technology, we can now understand how our heads and hearts are tracking — shifting from subjective to objective diagnosis and in doing so, accelerate diagnosis and treatment.”

The survey also found a serious lack of awareness among sufferers, with 73 per cent of men who qualified as having a mental health disorder unaware they had one, compared with 58 per cent of women.

It revealed just 17 per cent of people with mental health issues had sought treatment, and that less than half of Australians felt comfortable disclosing a mental health condition to a manager.

According to the results, perfectionism and self-criticism were strongly linked to anxiety.

And apparently, those traits are more common among women than men, with 33 per cent of females falling into the high ranges for perfectionism, compared to 21 per cent of men.

Meanwhile, 44 per cent of women use self-criticism as a primary stress response, compared to 34 per cent of men.

The program included around 3500 employees from 41 organisations across a range of industries in the country. 

This piece by Alexis Carey was first seen on ‘News.com.au‘, 18 April, 2018. 

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