• Source: Safety at work

    By: Margaret Tra

    One in three rural and regional workers take at least one day off work every few months because they are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, anxious or depressed, according to a research commissioned by Medibank Health Solutions.

    The research revealed that unrealistic work and a lack of work/life balance are forcing Australian workers to take time out from the workplace, with almost one in five taking one day off every month.

    Despite this, the surveyed employees reported that less than a third of employers have a program to support workers who are dealing with mental health issues.

    The survey of 1000 employees was commissioned to identify the key mental health issues facing workers in rural and regional areas and whether there are enough support services in the community and workplace.

    The research revealed that 78 per cent believe that there is not enough support devoted to those with mental health issues in their community, with depression, substance abuse and work-related stress identified as the most prevalent.

    Dr Matthew Cullen, group general manager of Medibank Health Solutions, said the results show that mental health issues among staff are often overlooked by employers or there was a lack of awareness about existing services.

    "While a lot of time and money is invested into providing a safe physical work environment, the effect that workplace pressures have on an employee's mental health is being overlooked at a huge cost to employers," Dr Cullen said.