The Link Between Workplace Stress & Mental Health

The Link Between Workplace Stress & Mental Health

People are increasingly aware of the prevalence of mental health issues in the workplace. It is estimated that one in five Canadian workers are struggling with a mental health issue at any given time. That figure translates to roughly 3.4 million people, 500,000 of whom call in sick every week due to a mental health condition.

However, many Canadians may not realize that work-related stress is one of the most significant contributors to those numbers. In a study of Canadian workers, the Globe and Mail found that a full 34% of those dealing with a mental health problems attributed their condition directly to work-related stress, a number that rivals depression (37%) and eclipses anxiety (32%) as one of the leading causes of mental health issues in Canada. 

In plain terms, that means that the Canadian workplace is creating many of its own problems. It also means that a mental health issue could affect anyone, whether or not they have any prior history of anxiety or depression. A study published in the British Medical Journal found that people with mild levels of workplace stress were 70% more likely to file a long term disability claim.  

In many cases, that stress had an impact that went beyond mental health. While the majority of the disability claims did indeed involve mental health issues, in many of them the stress manifested with physical symptoms – including high blood pressure and stroke – that were severe enough to keep those workers away from work for long periods of time.

Needless to say, that level of stress is bad for the Canadian workforce, both because it is harmful to individual Canadian workers and because it drains the Canadian economy at large. Every sick day comes with a cost, and even people who show up to work may be suffering from the effects of poor mental health. In the Globe and Mail study, 72% of the respondents felt that mental health issues would hurt their careers, and that stigma drove many people to the office when they knew they were unable to perform their best.

So what can we do to address the problem? At the most basic level, it’s important to treat mental health as an issue that affects all 17 million Canadian workers, not just the 3.4 million dealing with a mental health condition at a given point in time. After all, the stresses of the workplace can negatively affect the mental health of anyone. Finding a way to help everyone will prevent minor issues from developing into something worse and ensure those who are struggling can receive better support during a crisis.

Until then, a long-term disability claim is worth considering if your work-related stress has become too overwhelming. A mental health issue is legitimate grounds for such a claim, and at Share Lawyers, we understand that getting away from a workplace that is creating or exacerbating a mental health issue can give you a better chance to make a full recovery!

Has your long-term disability claim been denied? Contact Share Lawyers and put our experience to work for you. We have recently settled cases against RBC Insurance, Desjardins, Industrial Alliance, Sun Life, Blue Cross, Manulife, and many more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.