Work Stress: The Facts
Stress in the workplace is a growing problem. Whilst worker compensation claims have generally steadied over recent years, and even fallen in some areas, work stress related claims are continuing to rise. Busy lifestyles are combining with increasing work pressure to create highly stressful environments for individuals.
A recent study by Lifeline stated the inability to cope with work stress is costing our community billions of dollars every year. Two in every five Australians are experiencing levels of stress that are potentially harmful. This new data shows that work stress is costing the tax payer at least $107 million a year in Medicare benefits, as well as being responsible for $15 billion annually in lost productivity.
What is Stress?
Stress is primarily the emotional and physical strain an individual experiences in response to pressure from the outside world. Some stress can be considered positive and necessary to perform work and other tasks. However, if it is intense, constant and the individual finds themselves unable to cope, then stress can have adverse effects. Left untreated, stress can lead to physical illness and psychological disorders, which can have a substantial impact on our daily lives.
What Are The Common Symptoms of Work Stress?
What Can Cause Work Stress?
|Job Factors||Organisational Practices||Physical Work Environment||Organisational Change||Staff Relationships|
What Treatment/Help Is Available?
- Psychological intervention and/or counselling
- Employee Assistance Programs
- Coping skills training
- Relaxation and meditation education
- Support groups (provide social support and understanding)
How Can You Help Yourself?
|Physically||Time Management||Task Management||Away from Work|
How Can Work Colleagues Help?
To assist those experiencing high amounts of work stress it is vital for colleagues to express understanding, empathy and support. While some people may primarily need reassurance and emotional support, others may require help with their work schedule. It is important that colleagues, and workplaces, encourage staff to take steps to keep stress under control, and take action when it is becoming too much.
Mental Health First Aid is a great way for friends and family to learn about mental health and related issues. The course teaches how to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health issues, where and how to get help and what sort of help has been shown by research to be effective. Helping strategies include: medical, psychological, lifestyle and alternative treatments.
Who Else Can Help?
- Consult with your GP and ask about a Mental Health Care Plan
- Contact your local Community Mental Health Service to arrange for an assessment
- Australian Psychological Society (APS) toll free 1800 333 497 for a referral to a psychologist who practices in your area
- 1300 729 686 MHAQ mhConnect Info & Referral Service
- 13 11 44 Lifeline 24hr Counselling
- 1300 363 622 Salvo Careline 24 hr Counselling
- 1300 224 636 Beyondblue 24hr Info Line
- 1300 364 100 Parent Helpline
- 1800 18 SANE (7263) Information Help Line
- 1800 351 881 ARAFMI 24 hr Family & Friends Support Line
- 1800 551 800 Kids Helpline 24 hr Counselling
What Resources are Available to You?
- AIHW 2004, Hospital Morbidity Database 2001-02, Australia’s Health 2004, AIHW, Canberra.
- Caltabiano, ML, Sarafino, EP & Byrne, D 2008, Health psychology: biopsychosocial interactions, 2nd edn, Wiley, Brisbane
- Lifeline, 2009 http://www.lifeline.org.au/learn_more/media_centre/media_releases/2009/stress_ costs_taxpayer_$300k_every_day, accessed 23 July2009.
- MHFA 2004 ‘Pfizer Australia Health Report’ http://www.healthreport.com.au/Reports/11.pdf Accessed 23 July 2009.
- ReachOut Australia www.reachout.com