Mental health issue like depression are most common in the hospital and real estate industries.
Researches in the UK found that roughly one in seen people in the workplace experience mental health problems, with women being twice as likely to experience mental health issues than men.
“The prevalence of common mental health problems had a wide variation across 20 studied industries in the UK. None of these industries studied experienced significant decreases in prevalence, but three industries – wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; construction; and other service activities – saw significant increases,” Dr Shanquan Chen, author of the study and researcher from the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge told Theravive.
“In addition, significant gender disparities of common mental health problems against females in over half of the twenty industries studied were also found, with the smallest gap being in the transport and storage industry and the highest gap being in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry.”
In undertaking their study, the researchers examined data from nearly 20 thousand people between the aged of 16 and 65. The people worked across 20 industries.
They found an overall increase to the number of people reporting mental health issues. 16% reported this in 2012 to 2014, whilst 18.8% reported this in 2016 to 2018.
Mental health problems were more common among those who weren’t working. 33.7% of people who weren’t working reported a mental health problem.
Mental health problems were also found to be common in the hospitality industry. This included those working in accommodation and food services. 23.8% of the people working in this industry reported mental health problems.
The researchers suggest this may be because these industries require workers to have face to face contact with the public. Employees may also have to work irregular or long hours in this roles.
Face to face roles with the public may also expose employees to violence or be emotionally damaging, which could contribute to higher rates of mental health issues.
The industries with the lowest prevalence of mental health problems were in professions that involved technical, professional or scientific activities, agriculture, fishing and forestry and mining and quarrying.
The researchers say this may be due to awareness of psychological demands being more prominent in some industries.
“Compared to industries whose voices, in terms of psychological demands, are more likely to be heard due to their high physical-risk occupational environment (like Mining and quarrying, Agriculture, forestry and fishing, and Construction) or the fact that they are the industries where researchers primarily come from (like Professional, scientific and technical activities, and Human health and social work activities), attention from previous literature to some industries is insufficient (like Arts, entertainment and recreation). We hope industry leaders in their area to take an urgent look and try to identify and address the underlying issues,” Chen said.
According to the CDC, mental illness is associated with higher rates of unemployment.
Depression reduces cognitive performance in people 35% of the time and limits a person’s ability to complete a physical task related to their job roughly 20% of the time.
The researchers found that in 11 out of 20 industries, mental health issues were more common among females than males.
The industry with the highest gender disparity was the arts, entertainment and recreation industry. In this industry 26% of women reported mental health problems compared with 5.6% of men.
Women who didn’t work also had higher prevalence of mental health problems than men. 45% of women who weren’t working reported mental health problems compared with 21.7% of males.
The researchers are hopeful their study will highlight the need for reform in some industries to address the mental health problems facing workers.
“We hope industry leaders in their area to take an urgent look and try to identify and address the underlying issues,” Chen said.
Elizabeth Pratt is a medical journalist and producer. Her work has appeared on Healthline, The Huffington Post, Fox News, The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, The Sydney Morning Herald, News.com.au, Escape, The Cusp and Skyscanner. You can read more of her articles here. Or learn more about Elizabeth and contact her via her LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.