A new study found that many workers aren't taking care of their mental health.
For years, we have been preaching about the problems related to secondhand smoke as it relates to your health and the health of those around you, but reviews of many studies out of Harvard Business School and Stanford University shows that stress might be just as bad for you.
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The researchers poured through many studies and noted that while employers have created a number of different programs to highlight healthy lifestyle choices, fewer programs have been created to help employees who have mental illness problems. Even fewer programs have been created to teach workers how to deal with life and on the job stress.
"Wellness programs are great at doing what they're designed to do," Joel Goh, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School told the Boston Globe. "But they're targeting [employee behavior], not targeting the cause of stress. There are two sides of the equation and right now we focus on one side. We're trying to call attention to the other side [of the equation], which is the effect of managerial practices."
This wasn't just a quick overview either, it was a meta analysis of over 220 studies that chronicles the effects of 10 different workplace stressors on things like physical health, mental health, morbidity, and mortality. Included in those categories were familial conflict, insecurity in jobs, high demands, benefits, longer work hours, and little organizational control. Each of the 228 studies had 1,000+ participants and 115 were long-term studies that followed the participants into retirement.
They also found that insecurity in the job increased the odds of poor health by about 50% and working long hours increased mortality by about 20 percent. High demands on the job increased the risk of morbidity or having a diagnosed illness by about 35 percent.
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"We're not prescribing methodology to mitigate stress, but we're trying to open up conversation to say 'these things matter,'' Goh said. "Assuming an employer cares about their employee for benevolent or bottom line reasons, we think this is something many employers haven't thought on about."