5 April 2023 posted by Recovery Partners

Mental health issues among young workers have become a growing concern globally. Workplace stressors are among the main contributors of ongoing mental health problems in the workplace. Research has been undertaken that explores the relationship between psychosocial work factors and the mental health of young workers.

The study aimed to identify the psychosocial work factors that affect the mental health of young workers.
The research questions were:

  1. What are the psychosocial work factors that affect the mental health of young workers?
  2. How do these factors impact the mental health of young workers?
Mental health decline caused by psychosocial hazards in the workplace

The study found that psychosocial work factors such as job demands, job control, social support, job insecurity, and work-family conflict were significant predictors of mental health outcomes among young workers. 

Job demands, including workload and time pressures, were found to increase the risk of mental health problems. There is a stark contrast in the expectations of school and higher education than to entry-level jobs.  Work-family conflict was also found to be a significant predictor of mental health problems.

Job control, social support, and job security were identified as protective factors for mental health.  In particular, psychological and social support is essential for all supportive social interactions available at work. This is important for maintaining a more involved, committed and satisfied workforce. Workplace Wellness Programs can ensure this support, by protecting psychological health through active team participation.

Building a younger workforce aware of psychosocial risks

The findings suggest that young workers should pay attention to the psychosocial work factors that impact their mental health. Workers should be aware of the job demands they face, and employers should take steps to reduce excessive workloads and time pressures. Additionally, workers should seek out social support from colleagues and managers to help manage work-related stress. Workers should also ensure that they have a good work-life
balance to reduce the impact of work-family conflict on their mental health.

What does this mean for Return To Work Coordinators?

Return to Work Coordinators can play an important role in promoting mental health among young workers. Coordinators can work with employers to create a supportive work environment that takes into account the psychosocial work factors that impact the mental health of young workers. This may include measures such as reducing job demands, providing social support, and promoting work-life balance. Coordinators can also provide education and resources, such as an Employee Assistance Program, to help young workers manage work-related stress.

What does this mean for personal injury insurers in Australia?

Personal injury insurers can also play a role in promoting mental health among young workers. Insurers can work with employers to implement measures that reduce job demands and promote a supportive work environment, by organising a risk assessment to identify psychosocial hazards. Additionally, insurers can provide funding for resources and support services, specifically  targeted to assist young workers manage work-related stress and maintain good mental health.

In conclusion, the study highlights the importance of psychosocial work factors in the mental health of young workers. Employers, Return to Work Coordinators, and personal injury insurers can play an important role in promoting mental health among young workers by taking steps to address the psychosocial work factors that impact their mental health. By doing so, young workers can work in a supportive environment that promotes their mental health and well-being.

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Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/