Workers Have High Rates of Psychological Distress

Nearly five percent of employees suffer from psychological distress levels associated with a high likelihood of a mental disorder, reports a study in the July Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Led by Michael F. Hilton, Ph.D., of the University of Queensland, Australia, the study was based on a survey of more than 60,500 full-time employees of 58 Australian companies. Workers anonymously completed a questionnaire that asked how often they felt sad, nervous, hopeless, etc. Scores of 13 or higher (on a 24-point scale) indicated high psychological distress, with a high likelihood of a mental disorder.

Overall, 4.5 percent of the employees had high psychological distress. Another 9.6 percent had moderate psychological distress (score of 8 to 12), indicating a “possible” mental disorder.

Just 22 percent of workers with high psychological distress were currently receiving treatment for a mental health condition. Another 29 percent said they had a mental disorder but had never sought treatment, while 31 percent denied having any problem.

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