When stress is mental illness: A study of anxiety and depression in employees who use occupational stress counselling schemes

  • Arthur A
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A previous study found that 86 per cent of employees (n = 111) who experience stress in the workplace and sought help from their workplace counselling schemes (Employee Assistance Pro- grammes) had serious mental health problems, but the low participation rate (24 per cent) restricted generalizability and the measure used General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) did not allow diagnosis. The present study (n = 58) improved the participation rate to 35 per cent and used a different version of the original measure (GHQ-28) that allowed diagnostic differen- tiation as well as validation of the original findings. This new study found almost exactly the same high levels of mental health problems existed (86 per cent) in employees who remained at their work and that participants had higher rates of anxiety than depression. This finding is at vari- ance with the usual co-morbid presentation of anxiety and depression found in community based mental health services and suggests that depression may be an important differentiating factor between those who can remain at work and use counselling and those who cannot. There are implications for those who provide mental health services. The results of this study further rein- force the suggestion that workplace stress may be yet another name for common mental health problems that require professional help and treatment. Copyright

Author-supplied keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Clinical
  • Depression
  • Mental illness
  • Stress

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  • Andrew R. Arthur

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