Australians who take time off work because they’re depressed are more likely to hide this from their bosses because they fear this will put their jobs at risk.
But they return to work earlier than those in Europe, according to a survey of more than 1,000 in Australia.
SANE Australia CEO Jack says there are as many as two million facing difficulties in the workplace with one in five Australians experiencing some form of mental illness every year.
In the survey, almost 1 in 2 (48%) who didn’t inform their employer felt they would put their job at risk if they revealed the reason for time off.
SANE Australia CEO Jack Heath says it’s concerning that, despite all the good work done to increase awareness about depression, many people still don’t feel its okay to talk about their illness.
“Depression means more than just feeling down,” says Heath. “It is a serious condition which affects every aspect of a person’s life, including relationships at work and home.
“Not disclosing a mental illness increases stress and prevents access to the very support that can promote successful employment.”
The research found Australian workers with depression took much less time off than those in Europe.
The average number of working days taken off was 14.6 days compared to 35.9 days reported by European workers.
It’s not known why people are returning to work sooner in Australia. It may be people are getting better treatment or it may be because of the greater stigma attached to mental illness.
The Impact of Depression at Work: Australia Audit surveyed 1,031 adults aged 16-64 Australia-wide.
SANE Australia helpline 1800 18 SANE (7263)
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