Thursday December 13, 2018

Reduction of Job Strain Can Lower the Threat of Mental Illness Cases

The researchers also accounted for non-workplace factors including divorce, financial problems, housing instability, and other stressful life events like death or illness.

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If your workplace is supporting its employees by reducing their job strain, it may boost in preventing new cases of common mental illness from occurring up to 14 per cent, a new study suggests.
Stress at work place is linked to mental illness. Pixabay
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If your workplace is supporting its employees by reducing their job strain, it may boost in preventing new cases of common mental illness from occurring up to 14 per cent, a new study suggests.

The findings, published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, confirm that high job strain is associated with an increased risk of developing common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety amongst middle-aged workers.

Job strain is a term used to describe the combination of high work pace, intensity, and conflicting demands, coupled with low control or decision-making capacity.

“The results indicate that if we were able to eliminate job strain situations in the workplace, up to 14 per cent of cases of common mental illness could be avoided,” said lead author Samuel Harvey, Associate Professor at the Black Dog Institute in Australia.

“These findings serve as a wake-up call for the role workplace initiatives should play in our efforts to curb the rising costs of mental disorders,” Harvey added.

To determine levels of job strain, 6,870 participants completed questionnaires at age 45 testing for factors including decision authority, skill discretion and questions about job pace, intensity and conflicting demands.

If your workplace is supporting its employees by reducing their job strain, it may boost in preventing new cases of common mental illness from occurring up to 14 per cent, a new study suggests.
Mental illness can be reduced by reducing the job pressure. Pixabay

The researchers also accounted for non-workplace factors including divorce, financial problems, housing instability, and other stressful life events like death or illness.

The models developed in this study controlled for individual workers’ temperament and personality, their IQ, level of education, prior mental health problems and a range of other factors from across their early lives.

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The final modelling suggested that those experiencing higher job demands, lower job control and higher job strain were at greater odds of developing mental illness by age 50, regardless of sex or occupational class.

“Workplaces can adopt a range of measures to reduce job strain, and finding ways to increase workers’ perceived control of their work is often a good practical first step. This can be achieved through initiatives that involve workers in as many decisions as possible,” Harvey, who is also affiliated with the University of New South Wales in Australia, noted. (IANS)

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Suicide Rates On The Rise Among U.S. Workers

Promoting social interaction rather than isolation in daily tasks on the job may help with suicide prevention.

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Suicide, Life expectancy
A young volunteer helps set up lights in paper bags decorated with messages for loved ones during an Out of the Darkness Walk event organized by the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. VOA

From 2000 to 2016, the U.S. suicide rate among those aged 16 to 64 rose 34 percent, from 12.9 deaths for every 100,000 people in the population to 17.3 per 100,000, according to the study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The highest suicide rate among men was for workers in construction and mining jobs, with 43.6 deaths for every 100,000 workers in 2012 and 53.2 deaths per 100,000 in 2015, the analysis found.

The highest suicide rate among women was for workers in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media, with 11.7 fatalities for every 100,000 workers in 2012 and 15.6 deaths per 100,000 in 2015.

“Since most adults spend a great deal of their time at work, the workplace is an important and underutilized venue for suicide prevention,” said study co-author Deborah Stone, a behavioral scientist at the CDC in Atlanta.

Facebook, U.S., workers
A man works in the war room, where Facebook monitors election-related content, in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

While the study wasn’t designed to prove whether or how specific types of jobs or workplace characteristics might contribute to the risk of suicide, lack of control over employment and a lack of job security can both be stressors that make suicide more likely, Stone said by email.

Many factors outside the workplace can also influence the risk of suicide, including relationship problems, substance use, physical or mental health, finances or legal problems, Stone added.

And ready access to guns and other weapons have a big impact on whether suicidal thoughts turn into actions with fatal outcomes, Stone said.

Guns may explain the higher suicide rates among men than among women, said Gary Namie, director of the Workplace Bullying Institute in Boise, Idaho.

“In America, with ready access to guns, men make the choice of death by gun, but it is the less likely choice by females,” Namie, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Hence, it is possible that in moments of despair that might pass if friends or family could intervene, with a gun handy, the decision is too quickly implemented.”

workers
To assess suicide rates by occupation, the CDC examined data collected from 17 states in 2012 and 2015.

Data from 17 states

To assess suicide rates by occupation, the CDC examined data collected from 17 states in 2012 and 2015; the results are not representative of the nation as a whole. The results were published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Although arts, design, entertainment, sports and media had the highest suicide rates among women, this category saw the biggest increase in suicide rate among men during the study. For women, the biggest increase in suicide rates was in the food service industry.

One limitation of the study is that it didn’t examine suicide methods. It also excluded two groups of Americans that typically have stressors that can increase their risk of suicide: military veterans and unemployed people.

Even so, the results suggest that employers can play a role in suicide prevention by offering worksite wellness programs, encouraging use of behavioral and mental health services, and training workers in the warning signs of suicide and how to respond, Stone said.

Also Read: Suicides Can Be Prevented, Says Expert Through Government Policies

Promoting social interaction rather than isolation in daily tasks on the job may also help with suicide prevention, along with creating a workplace culture of inclusion that does not allow for abusive conduct or bullying, Namie said.

The road to suicide begins when one employee begins a “systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction against another employee,” Namie said. “Bullying is the most preventable predictor of suicide.” (VOA)