Government employees increasingly seeking mental health support

  • Recent data shows an increase in government employees self-referring for mental health support.
  • Government jobs are prone to organisational change which acts as a stressor.
  • This article provides top five tips that employers and HR managers can provide to staff to help combat stress.

Stressed woman speaking with therapist

Government workers are increasingly likely to personally reach out for help with a range of mental wellbeing issues according to new data recently released.

The findings come from a review of referrals made between 2013 and 2018 by public administration professionals to AccessEAP a leading not-for-profit personal assistance program provider. They show that self-referral for mental wellbeing services was up 14 per cent in this sector, making up almost three quarters (73 per cent) of cases. Conversely, referrals by supervisors and managers (8 per cent), HR (5 per cent) and colleagues (5 per cent) were collectively down by nine per cent.

Government workers are familiar with the Employee Assistance support provided by their organisation and so utilisation has always been higher in the public sector. We have seen an increase in employees accessing the service due to ongoing changes occurring in the public sector. There are mergers with government departments and restructures, making the rate of these changes more rapid and frequent than before. People who go through this process face levels of uncertainty and anxiety and require support. Change also increases tension between employees leading to an increase in conflict within organisations.

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