Results for the first major study into the mental health and wellbeing of the Australian creative and marketing industries have found that people working in these industries are more likely to show mild-to-severe symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The study was conducted by Never Not Creative, mental health organisation Everymind and social purpose organisation Unltd in order to bring transparency to the issues facing people in the industry.
It found 20% out of over 1,800 participants surveyed, showed symptoms of depression and 29% more showing symptoms of anxiety contributed by factors like job satisfaction, stress, and pressure (from themselves and others), overworking and the number and quality of social connections. Higher levels of job satisfaction and a wider social network were associated with lower depression and anxiety scores.
Regarding job satisfaction, the results showed that having a variety of tasks, non-repetitive and engaging work, learning new things and having freedom and authority on when and how individuals work, were found to have a positive impact on mental health.
The research also uncovered an age effect on both depression and anxiety symptoms and the levels of stigma towards mental illness.
While depression and anxiety levels were higher among younger members, their stigma levels were lower. Only 26% of those aged 17-24 years old felt an individual with a mental illness would be treated poorly in the workplace, compared to 48% among those aged 45-54.
Respondents were less likely to feel comfortable talking about their own issues within the workplace, with only 29% indicating that they would tell someone within their industry if they had been diagnosed with depression
However, 89% of the survey participants indicated a willingness to work closely with someone with depression.
Jaelea Skehan, the director of the National Institute who conducted the research, said: “Everymind was pleased to partner with Never Not Creative and UnLtd on this important study. To best target and tailor workplace mental health approaches for the greatest impact, it is critical to understand the specific stressors, risk factors and opportunities for intervention that are appropriate for the industries.
“People often want to do something about mental health at work, but it is critical they focus on doing the most effective things for their specific industry.”
In the UK, a group of business leaders, including many from the media and agency world, have lent their voice to a campaign calling on the prime minister Theresa May to tighten health and safety rules in order to protect the mental health of workers.