Poor management increases risk of depression among staff by 300% – and men are more at risk because companies overlook their mental health, study finds

  • Ignoring employees’ mental health at work increases depression by 300%
  • This includes undervaluing staff and imposing unreasonable demands on them
  • The study also found that men are more likely to become depressed
  • Bullying in the workplace is also a sign of poor management
  • This not only impacts the victim, but others who witness the attacks
  • Victims and observers are likely to be diagnosed with depression as a result 

A year-long study in Australia found companies that fail to prioritize their employees’ mental health increases the rate of depression among staff by 300 percent.

Researchers at the University of South Australia analyzed psychosocial safety climate (PSC), which refers to policies, practices and procedures for protecting employees’ mental health and safety.

The team found workplaces that fail to acknowledge employees’ hard work and impose unreasonable demands  places workers at a higher risk of developing depression. 

Men are also likely to become more depressed because most workplaces tend to overlook their psychological health.

A year-long study in Australia found companies that fail to prioritize their employees’ mental health increases depression among staff by 300 percent. Men are also likely to become more depressed because most workplaces tend to overlook their psychological health

An estimated 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression and with no sign of the statistic falling, more attention is now being paid to poorly functioning work environments which could contribute to the problem, according MedisineNet. 

According to Anxiety & Depression Association of America, 40 million adults in the US are affected by an anxiety disorder.

And although treatable, only 36.9 percent of people receive treatment.

However, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and nearly 75 percent of people in developing countries with mental disorders remain untreated, and at least one million take their lives each year because of it. 

The team found workplaces that fail to acknowledge employees’ hard work and impose unreasonable demands, place workers at a higher risk of developing depression

Previous studies have found that working long hours contributes to the risk of cardiovascular disease, but the Australian researchers wanted to see if and how a work environment plays into depression. 

And they found it is poor management that is the culprit.

Lead author, Dr. Amy Zadow, said poor workplace mental health can be traced back to poor management practices, priorities and values, which then flows through to high job demands and low resources.

‘Evidence shows that companies who fail to reward or acknowledge their employees for hard work, impose unreasonable demands on workers, and do not give them autonomy, are placing their staff at a much greater risk of depression,’ Dr. Zadow said in a statement.

Researchers also note that burnout and workplace bullying are linked, because bullying only occurs when corporations’ failure  to support workers’ mental health.

Professor Maureen Dollard, who co-authored a second paper earlier this month,  found low PSC can lead to bullying due to emotional exhaustion.

‘Lack of consultation with employees and unions over workplace health and safety issues, and little support for stress prevention, is linked to low PSC in companies,’ Dollard said in the statement.  

‘We also found that bullying in a work unit can not only negatively affect the victim, but also the perpetrator and team members who witness that behavior. It is not uncommon for everyone in the same unit to experience burnout as a result.

‘In this study we investigated bullying in a group context and why it occurs. Sometimes stress is a trigger for bullying and in the worst cases it can set an ‘acceptable’ level of behavior for other members of the team. 

‘But above all bullying can be predicted from a company’s commitment to mental health, so it can be prevented.’

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