One in three Australian workers have a high mental health risk

- October 26, 2022 2 MIN READ

LifeWorks’ latest Mental Health Index found the majority of Australian workers are at risk of poor mental health, with one in three (34 per cent) facing a high mental health risk.

The index was launched during the early stages of the pandemic in April 2020 to capture the mental health risks of Australia’s employees. The quarterly report provides insights into the mental health, wellbeing and resilience of the nation’s employees.

While a third of Aussies are exhibiting symptoms of high risk, the number has dropped from 43 per cent when the survey began.

Inflation a burden on mental health

One in four Australian workers say inflation is the most significant cause of their stress (26 per cent), followed by the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic (13 per cent) and job loss (10 per cent). The research reveals more than half of Australian employees (53 per cent) believe stress is the main reason for their declining mental health.

Anxiety and isolation have been the most negative mental health sub-scores for the last two consecutive years.

Impact on women’s mental health

Women seem to be bearing the brunt of mental health woes. Women are nearly twice as likely than men to identify isolation as the reason for their mental health decline. Thirty per cent of Australians feel alone often, and this group has a mental health score nearly 20 points below the national average

More than one in ten Australians report a decline in trust between them and their employers, with changes in workplace culture (37 per cent), a perceived change in how employers handle wellbeing (25 per cent), and a change in communication (13 per cent) as reasons for a decline.

Work engagement goes hand in hand with wellbeing

A quarter of employees identify co-worker relationships as having the most positive impact on their work effort. Conversely, ten per cent say their relationship with co-workers can negatively impact their mental health.

A lack of recognition, or minimisation of their efforts, also harmed employee morale and inhibited the amount of effort employees may put into work.

Twenty per cent of Australians attribute the decline in their mental health to feeling isolated, while eight per cent attribute the decline in their mental health to having more work stress.

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