July 12th, 2018

Work Stress Primary Cause of Mental Health Issues

As we go through life entering new jobs and careers, something that is consistent is stress. Whether you’re 16 and starting your first summer job or you’re in the last years before you enter retirement – we all feel stress at work.

But too much stress can have a huge impact.

new Canadian study found that for the majority of respondents’ workplace stress was the primary cause of their mental health problem or illness. The top two issues were reported to be depression and anxiety.

These findings are shocking and hard to ignore.

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They mean that a huge portion of the population is affected by these mental heal issues due to work stress. Out of the population of around 17 million Canadians who work full or part-time, about 3.4 million workers could be experiencing a mental health issue.

We know there is an issue but how are workers dealing with it?

The majority of respondents felt that their mental health issues would hurt their careers and that they could only put in an ‘optimal performance’ at work for less than 70 per cent of the day. It was also the main reason they were missing work, with 34 per cent missing work for two months or more.

This is costing employers, the economy and workers. It’s time to find solutions and start a conversation about mental health support at work.

Teamsters 362 has been fighting to end the stigma surrounding mental health with two major initiatives – Make it Mandatory and You Are Not Alone.

Make it Mandatory was created after tragedy struck some of our members in 2012. Travis Baumgartner fatally shot three of his coworkers, Eddie Rejano, Brian Ilesic and Michelle Shegelski, a fourth, Matthew Schuman, rushed to hospital with a gunshot wound.

We wanted to do more to bring attention to mental health support in the workplace after this incident and encourage the government to make it mandatory.

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You Are Not Alone is a docuseries that was created when we saw rising suicide rates in Alberta.

Our eight-part docuseries travelled around Alberta to hear from those who have been directly affected by suicide and advocates who are speaking out and trying to raise awareness.

We have also negotiated mental health support into collective bargaining agreements, something that we will continue to do moving forward.

Mental health support in the workplace is clearly needed, and as Canadians, we need to do more.


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