Gen United

Is your work stressing you out? Here’s what you can do about it

In this blog we’ll be covering:
🌡️ What is a psychosocial hazard and how is your boss responsible?
🌡️ What can you do if your work is negatively impacting on your mental health?
🌡️ Helpful resources if you’re experiencing psychosocial hazards
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2 minutes

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If you didn’t already know, your employer is responsible for your health and safety at work – including risks to your mental health.

These are known as ‘psychosocial risks’ and include things like: 

  • Little or no support from your boss

  • Unreasonable job demands 

  • Unclear boundaries of your role

  • Remote or isolated work 

  • Aggression 

  • Bullying 

  • Harassment 

  • Any conflict, whether you’re directly involved, or a witness

These hazards can create stress, anxiety and depression that can be very harmful in the long term.

Why is this important?

Psychosocial hazards can be hard to spot, even when you’re experiencing them!

But, problems at work that lead to bad mental health can be just as dangerous as physical hazards.  

The Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Report published by Safe Work Australia in February 2024 says that during 2021-22: 

“Mental health conditions accounted for 9% of all serious workers’ compensation claims, a 36.9% increase since 2017-18. 

“The median time lost was more than 4 times greater than that of all physical injuries and illnesses (2020-21).ß

“The median compensation paid for mental health conditions was more than 3 times greater than that of all physical injuries and illnesses.”

So, it’s not just an issue for workers, it’s actually a big issue for employers too.

How to get help if work is affecting your mental health

How you seek help depends a lot on your workplace and on the type of psychosocial hazard you’re facing there.

Start by keeping records of what’s going on. You can keep notes on your phone or in a diary, whatever works for you.

You should record what happened, when it happened, who else was there, and how it impacted you and your mental health.

If you have a health and safety rep at your work, then great! They’re always a good starting point. They might have already heard similar things from your co-workers, which means they’ll have more success in getting your employer to take up some suggested changes or solutions to the problem.

If there isn’t a health and safety rep to talk for you, then you should definitely talk to your co-workers to see if they’re experiencing the same issues. You’re probably not the only one having trouble with work. 

It’s actually pretty likely that if you’re experiencing unrealistic workloads, a shabby environment, unclear expectations around your role, crappy management and organisational structure, then your co-workers probably are too. 

If this is the case, talk with your co-workers you can come up with a possible solution and discuss it with your employer together.  

But if you’re being bullied and harassed, you might not be comfortable discussing it with  your workmates. If that’s the case, you might want to call your union for advice and support.  Find out which union represents your industry here .

If you need support dealing with mental ill-health, please call lifeline on 13 11 14, or you can find more mental health support services here.

Source: Safe Work Australia


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