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Over half of the media and marketing industry shows symptoms of depression

A study of over 1,800 media and marketing industry workers has revealed 56% of workers show symptoms of depression, 20 percentage points more than the national average.

The Mentally Healthy study, conducted by Never Not Creative, UnLtd and Everymind, showed nearly one in five media industry staffers displayed severe or extremely severe symptoms of depression, compared to 12% in the national average.

Using the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS) to identify symptoms of depression and anxiety in research participants, it also revealed a 29 percentage point increase in the symptoms of anxiety compared to national data.

When looking at the reasons associated with the results, stress was a key factor with 57% of employees showing symptoms of stress and 18% showing signs of severe or extremely severe stress.

The survey showed nearly half of the employees work over eight hours a day, and a third are working over the weekend at least once a month.

Job satisfaction was a big factor in an employee’s mental health, with those more satisfied less likely to show symptoms of depression or anxiety. Factors that contributed to job satisfaction included having decision authority on when and how you work, learning new things and being given a variety of tasks.

Never Not Creative’s Andy Wright: “Now that we know the issues, we will be identifying the right solutions”

Andy Wright, founder of Never Not Creative, said the study highlights the need to find the right solutions for our industry. “Now that we know the issues, we will be identifying the right solutions to help make our industry more mentally healthy.

“We’d like to launch a resource hub for various tips and tools around mental health specifically for people working in our industry and we will be working with our community to address some of the contributing factors identified in the study.”

Mentally Healthy also revealed the industry’s understanding of mental health was high, with 89% of survey participants indicating they would be willing to work alongside someone with depression. Despite this, only 29% indicated they would tell someone within their industry if they had been diagnosed with depression.

Age played a part in the respondent’s attitudes towards mental health in the workplace, with only 26% of those aged 17-24 years old believing an individual with a mental illness would be treated poorly in the workplace, compared to 48% amongst those aged 45-54.

“It’s good to see that our industry is so literate and supportive of mental health issues but it is also clear that mental ill-health is something that affects many,” said Chris Freel, CEO of UnLtd.

“There are several areas where our industry can do better and we will be working to address some of these on a practical and more structural level. As the first step, we will be bringing the industry associations together to make an action plan for improving the mental health of our industry collectively.”

Jaelea Skehan, director of Everymind, who conducted the research, said to best target and tailor workplace mental health approaches for the greatest impact, it is critical to understand the specific stressors, risk factors and opportunities for intervention that are appropriate for the industries.

“People often want to do something about mental health at work, but it is critical they focus on doing the most effective things for their specific industry,” she said.

If you or someone you care about needs support, please contact:

Lifeline 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78

beyondblue 1300 22 4636

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