Impacts of work on mental health - Survey

  • 14 October 2022

There is a crisis in Australian workplaces which has fallen out of view during the pandemic, but requires immediate attention with more than a fifth of workers having suffered a preventable mental health issue in the last 12 months due to issues in their workplace.  A combination of staff shortages, pressure to work through breaks and lack of workplace support is leading to significant rates of work-related mental health issues, according to a new survey conducted by the ACTU.
“Mental health issues caused by work are taking a massive toll on women and frontline workers – we cannot afford to continue the decade of complacency and neglect which we experienced under the previous Government," ACTU Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien said.

21 per cent of workers surveyed said that they had experienced mental health issues related to work in the last 12 months.  Education, health and retail workers were most likely to say they suffered a mental health issue due to work in the past 12 months - 26, 27 and 26 per cent respectively.
Women also experienced higher rates of mental health issues related to work – in the last 12 months 24 per cent of women experienced either mental or both mental and physical injury, compared to 18 per cent of men.
“Employers have a responsibility to remove hazards to the health of their employees from the workplace. It is just as important to eliminate or mitigate the factors that cause stress and mental injury such as overwork, occupational violence and aggression, bullying or harassment as it is to remove trip hazards or ensure safe use of machinery.
“Every worker has a right to a safe and healthy working environment.

The ACTU welcomes the Albanese Government’s commitments to ensuring that mental health is treated as seriously as physical health and employers are held accountable for their role in maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for all employees,” he said.