Job Stress and Mental Health
It has been widely reported that the state of millennials mental health is far lower than previous generations. Factors that contribute to the declining mental health rates include increasing levels of stress, anxiety and depression that all are strongly tied to their work lives. There are numerous reasons a person experiences mental health concerns from family issues to personal relationships, even socio-political stressors, however, financial stresses take a huge toll.
The majority of millennials are in debt from student loans, healthcare bills and the overall high cost of living. As these financial difficulties continue to pile on, millennials feel the constant pressure and uneasiness about their job stability. According to Healthline, “Rates of depression among millennials are naturally increasing because of this economic reality’. Many studies have been done into researching the correlation between financial health and mental health.
The definition of job burnout is “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” The World Health Organization has officially classified job burnout as a "syndrome," medically legitimizing the condition for the first time recently. Millennials are burning out sooner than their predecessors due to increased workloads, long hours, long commutes and a “hustle culture” that rewards those constantly pushing themselves to the limit. Many feel an unspoken pressure to feel the need to be checking emails constantly and being available at all times.
Burnout can also occur when a job is mundane, under stimulating, low-paying with no signs of career growth. Even retirees face high levels of depression as their work life was their whole life and their self-worth tied to their job.
The ever-changing job market, and the anxiety of job loss and potentially falling into a downward financial spiral causes increased anxiety and unhealthy coping habits. Many millennial workers also feel their health coverage isn’t adequate for them to afford proper treatment. A general lack of resources and support has resulted in many to up and leave their workplaces where they felt their mental health was being gravely affected. Forbes reports 50% of Millennials and 75% of Gen-Zers quit a job due to issues related to mental health.
Although most jobs involve a certain amount of stress, some occupations involve constant high stress situations that leave lasting effects. According to BBC, more emergency service staff are taking sick leave due to poor mental health mostly from “"repeated exposure to and the cumulative effects of trauma" combined with other stresses such as "long shifts and unsocial work hours".
Police officers, ambulance drivers, firefighters and other emergency personal can suffer from anxiety, depression and PTSD after witnessing traumatic events. Irregular shifts, graveyard shifts and on-call nights can leave them feeling physical and mentally drained.
The good news is, it is more common and increasingly being encouraged for employees to take a mental health day, use all of their available vacation days and make their work life balance a priority. Consequently, more companies are making the mental health of their employees a top priority.