A Third of Workers Battling Mental Illness in Australia


Fraser Clarke

A third of office workers in Australia are now battling a mental illness according to a comprehensive new study.

More than 3,500 employees responded to Medibio’s report, known as ‘Australia’s Biggest Mental Health Check-in’, making it one of the most telling insights ever compiled into the mental health of the nation.

According to the findings depression is now the biggest mental health problem in the workplace, overtaking anxiety for the first time. Stress meanwhile was given as the third most common issue - with cases now five percent less frequent than depression.

The figures should come as little surprise however, with Australia known to be battling serious issues with mental illness. As the stigma surrounding conditions begins to drop, rates are rising globally - though Australia’s shift from one in five to one in three over the last decade will come as a shock to many.

Speaking about the findings, program creator Peta Slocombe, said: “A decade ago one in five Australians were found to be suffering from a mental illness in any given year, the manner in which we all live, work and interact has changed radically since then - to the detriment of our mental health.

“Depression is estimated to cost Australia $12.6 billion annually, and this year’s Check-In shows the issue is rising.

“It’s clear that we need a change in how we address 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.”

Aside from the rising statistics, the survey also found another worrying trend, where just 47% of those with mental health concerns felt prepared to speak to their superiors about it.

Until that figure changes Australia - as with the rest of the world - looks set to face a lengthy battle with mental health for years to come.

Australia remains an extremely popular location with Western trained medics seeking a better life overseas, with psychologists and GPs in especially high demand.

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