Stressed South African economy leaves workers depressed

03 August 2017 - 16:01 By Suthentira Govender
The recession‚ job shortages and financial challenges are putting a strain on workers’ mental health.
The recession‚ job shortages and financial challenges are putting a strain on workers’ mental health.
Image: iStock

South Africa’s workforce is stressed and depressed. According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) one in four employees have been diagnosed with depression.

The recession‚ job shortages and financial challenges are putting a strain on workers’ mental health‚ warned the body.

In response to growing concerns‚ Sadag will hold a mental health in the workplace seminar in Johannesburg this month to educate employers on how to arm their employees with tools to combat stress and anxiety in the workplace.

"Depression negatively impacts on productivity. It affects cognitive functions such as decision making‚ concentration‚ memory and problem solving abilities‚" said Dr Frans Korb‚ a psychiatrist and clinical psychologist.

As a result a person who is depressed and at work could have more of a negative impact on productivity than someone who is absent due to depression‚ Korb said.

Cassey Chambers‚ Sadag’s operations director said: “On average‚ people with depression took 18 days of work due to their depression in South Africa. This is one of the reasons why it’s vital to examine how depression is managed in the workplace and what procedures are in place to ensure that affected employees are encouraged to and supported in seeking treatment.”

Sadag has noted an increase in calls for help from South Africans‚ facing financial pressure over the last few months.

“Over the last couple of months‚ with the economic stress and financial pressures that a lot of South Africans are experiencing‚ we are seeing more callers phoning for help. Financial pressure does increase an individual’s stress‚ especially compounding problems in relationships at work‚ responsibilities‚ etc.

“From one issue‚ such as financial stress‚ it can snowball and lead to various problems that impact all aspects of a person’s life and make them feel so overwhelmed that it can lead to stress‚ anxiety‚ depression and even suicide‚” warned Chambers.

Clinical psychologist Dr Ingrid Artus said “circumstantial depression and anxiety seems to be more prevalent during times of economic and political uncertainty”.

“When aspects that are important to our livelihood and identity‚ such as the ability to earn an income and to pay the bills‚ are threatened as a result of external and uncontrollable stress factors‚ the key ingredients of depression and anxiety set in‚” added Artus.

- TimesLIVE

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