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Study shows millennials in the workforce most likely to experience depression

Younger workers more likely to report bullying, discrimination due to mental illness
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young workers

Statistics, according to a recent Ipsos survey, show that one in every two members of the youngest generation in Canada's workplaces say they've experienced depression.

Fifty per cent of millennial workers (those aged 18 to 34) report in the survey some experience of depression compared to 39 per cent of GenXers (those aged 35 to 54) and 29 per cent of Boomers (those aged 55 or older). 

"These trends among younger age groups in the workplace may seem disconcerting," said Mary Ann Baynton, program director, Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace. "However, these results may partly reflect that younger workers are more aware of mental health and less likely to be silenced by social stigma, which is what we've seen through other research."

Other key findings include that millennial workers are also more likely than other age groups to: believe they currently have a mental illness (21 per cent, compared to 14 per cent of GenXers and 9 per cent of Boomers); feel nervous, anxious or on edge most days (21 per cent, compared to 11 per cent of GenXers and 7 per cent of Boomers); be unable to control their worrying most days (20 per cent compared to 11 per cent of GenXers and 7 per cent of Boomers); and find it difficult to cope with these feelings (17 per cent, compared to 11 per cent of GenXers and 9 per cent of Boomers). 

The survey also found that millennials are more likely than other age groups to report: being bullied or harassed in the workplace (13 per cent, compared to 9 per cent of GenXers and 8 per cent of Boomers); experiencing discrimination in the workplace (11 per cent, compared to 8 per cent of GenXers and 7 per cent of Boomers); and being treated unfairly in the workplace due to mental illness (15 per cent, compared to 12 per cent of GenXers and Boomers).

Baynton also said the fact the latest generation to enter the workforce reports the higher levels of psychological stress should be a major flag for senior leaders concerned about employee retention and productivity. Engaging these workers in a discussion about what supports them to do their best work can be a great starting point to remove barriers to reaching their full potential and sustained well-being.

The survey was commissioned by the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace.

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