A recent Stress and Wellbeing survey conducted by the Australian Psychological Society (APS) has found that 26 per cent of Australians are experiencing moderate to extremely severe symptoms of depression, and 26 per cent of Australians are experiencing above-normal levels of anxiety.
The 2015 survey used a controlled sample group of around 2000 participants that represented Australian people according to age, gender, geographical location and work status. Of those reporting extremely severe levels of anxiety symptoms, 66 per cent drink alcohol, 54 per cent gamble, 47 per cent take recreational drugs and 45 per cent smoke cigarettes to manage stress.
The half-decade snapshot survey found that Aussies wellbeing is worse in 2015 than it was in 2011, reporting lower levels of wellbeing and workplace wellbeing and higher levels of stress, depression and anxiety symptoms.
The report also found that:
- Younger people (18-25) have consistently reported lower levels of wellbeing than older Australians.
- The unemployed report the lowest levels of wellbeing whereas the retirees report the highest levels of wellbeing.
- Australians living with a partner reported significantly higher levels of wellbeing compared to all other groups (e.g. sole parents, living with parents, etc.).
- Those with children have higher levels of wellbeing than those without children.
- Wellbeing levels rise with education and income.
- 35 per cent of Australians report having a significant level of distress in their lives.
- 26 per cent of Australians report above normal levels of anxiety symptoms.
- 26 per cent of Australians report having moderate to extremely severe levels of depression symptoms.
- In 2015, anxiety symptoms were the highest they have been in the five years of the survey.
- Financial issues are rated as the top cause of stress over the five years.
Furthermore, a 2014 report by Beyond Blue found that Australian businesses will receive an average return of $2.30 for every $1 they invest in effective workplace mental health strategies. The research, which looked at the impact of employees’ mental health conditions on productivity, participation and compensation claims, also found these conditions cost Australian employers at least $10.9 billion a year.
Furthermore, the APS report found that mental stress claims are now the most expensive type of workers’ compensation claim.
So, why aren’t employers addressing workplace burnout, mental health and substance misuse issues, and what can you do to ensure you aren’t a victim of workplace burnout?
How to identify burnout, according to Psychology Today AU:
- A state of chronic stress
- Physical and emotional exhaustion
- Cynicism and detachment
- Inability to function effectively
- Low levels of motivation
- Increased errors
- Debilitating self-doubt
- Poor physical health
- Reduced job satisfaction
- Increased absenteeism
- Poor morale
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What to do if you’re facing workplace burnout:
Speak to your manager
Speak to your workplace officials about where you’re at and work together to put a plan in action moving forward. It could be some time away from work or it could be restructuring your role and responsibilities.
Find fulfilment and happiness outside of work
A good way to balance your life is to find an extracurricular activity that makes you happy and releases pent-up emotions or energy. Whether it’s sports or a hobby, just find something that you can do for you, not to pay the bills.
Thanks to the advancement of technology and social media our work often follows us home. Set some boundaries and be resolute in your decision to not check emails after outside of wok hours, and always get home on time on Fridays, for example.
You are more than your job
Work is only one aspect of life, among family, friends, hobbies and personal life. It’s important to recognize that there is more to you, and life, than your job, and you should try to avoid letting it bleed into other life aspects.
One of the most crucial things to remember about stress, mental health and workplace burnout is that you should always seek out help and support. It might be friends, family, a mental health service or a therapist. Whatever you do, spend some time building a support network and utilize it.
If you're feeling stressed or need someone to talk to get in contact with: