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Over 2 million Australians experience mental health difficulties at work

Mental health - fast emerging as a major workplace issue Source: Supplied

On RU OK day, we focus on mental health of employees, especially young workers under the age of 25. Sanam Sharma, a senior HR professional at an Australian multinational firm, tells us "approximately 3.2 million Australians experience mental health difficulties every year, of which 65% are work related."

Sanam was a panelist at a recent conference organised by the Victorian Chamber of Commerce, where the focus was on the mental health of young workers.

Speaking to SBS Punjabi after the conference, Sanam said, "Workers aged 15—24 years comprise 30% of all Australian employed persons." 

"One in four young people are found to be experiencing mental health issues at work - be it lack of training, lack of support, bullying, harassment and other workplace behaviours that lead to mental health problems."

"It is important to understand that 75% of lifetime cases of mental illness experience onset by age 24 - so this is a really big issue for everyone."

Sanam Sharma, an HR expert, and a panellist at a recent conference that focussed on mental health of young workers
Sanam Sharma, an HR expert, and a panellist at a recent conference that focussed on mental health of young workers
Supplied

"It is hard to pin-point exactly what triggers these mental health difficulties. There isn't one specific cause, rather a combination of:

1. Stress & vulnerability,  

2. Biological (eg family history, physical illness, or drug use), and 

3. Psychological (eg poor coping skills, communication problems.

"Research reveals that the sense of identity and connection to community gained from work, contributes to good mental health. Also, long term unemployment can have a negative impact on physical and mental health."

Therefore, mental health in the workplace is a key issue, especially for young workers. 

Helplines for people facing mental health difficulties
Helplines for people facing mental health difficulties
R U OK Day

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