Two thirds of employees state they are suffering mental health problems at their work place

Spending more than 40 hours at the work place and extensive volumes of work were among the main factors that have led to two thirds of those employees who responded to a survey stating they were having to cope with mental problems. The research also showed that two thirds of employees have never confronted their employers about their work challenges. However, the majority also stated they have never experienced support regarding their problems.

The survey was carried out by MISCO among 565 employees from nine sectors.

The survey coordinator, Odessa Farrugia, said that a third of those experiencing mental health problems were from the public sector, from mainly administrative sectors, defence, education and health.

It was indicated that more than 40 weekly hours and the great volume of work involved are the main reasons causing them stress. Of those surveyed, 69% said they had never had vacations to deal with their mental stress.

Odessa Farrugia remarked that the employees themselves suggested how this situation may be tackled and reduced.

Many employees said the working flexible hours in their work routine interested them such as being able to attend morning appointments and then making up the time later, always as long as the work being carried out permits the use of flexibility.

Melvin Calleja from Fondazzjoni Richmond said the survey results do not surprise him and mentioned various factors that cause stress.

These include bullying issues, issues of discontent at work because of great volumes of work as well as a change of duties for which an individual was not prepared.

He said there are also cases of burnout – when an employee has spent long stretches of time at work without being able to take a break and thus becoming indifferent because of great tiredness and the feeling that the work being done does not contribute to society.

Calleja said that each work place carries its own burdens and even two people doing the same type of work may be affected in different ways by their work. He said that mental health problems may not necessarily be manifest by their gravity but if one notices a change of attitude, including that of not enjoying one’s hobbies or feeling unhappy at work, then one should speak out.

He said it is important these sentiments do not remain bottled up and should be made known to others, maybe a manager of trust, a supervisor, a colleague or a friend and if not a fellow employee, at least to the family.

The survey was carried out before the onset of COVID-19 and indicated that 75% did not relate their mental health problems to their employers but 70% of those who had, had not experienced any support.