The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Poor workplace climate leads to mental health problems

Around one in four people in Switzerland say they suffer from mental health problems. According to a study by the insurance group Axa, the climate in the workplace is a particular problem for the Swiss.

According to the international study, the Swiss rate their mental health more positively than people in other countries. Nevertheless, 26 percent of the 1,000 people surveyed stated that they suffered from mental health problems and 15 percent from depression.

The climate at work clearly has a major influence on people's well-being. For example, 77 percent of the employees surveyed stated that they suffered from a mental health problem due to their working environment. Symptoms include tiredness and lack of energy (59 percent), sleep disorders (47 percent), stress and anxiety (33 percent), a feeling of worthlessness (33 percent) and eating disorders (24 percent).

As a result of this stressful working environment, 30 percent wanted to be less involved at work or work less and 30 percent were planning further training so that they could change jobs later. 28 percent wanted to work from home more and 22 percent intended to quit their job.

Significant effects

According to Axa, the effects of a working environment that is perceived as negative are considerable. For example, 17% of employees stated that they had taken sick leave due to mental health problems in the last 12 months, 54% of whom were aged between 18 and 34. A total of 7 percent had experienced burnout in the last year.

According to a calculation by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, Axa puts the resulting loss to Switzerland's gross domestic product at the equivalent of around CHF 17.3 billion a year.

Too little support

According to their own assessment, employees receive too little support from their employers in difficult situations: for example, around half of those affected by burnout (51%) were dissatisfied with the support they received from their employer. 28 percent of employees with mental health problems described the support they received from their company as inadequate.

42 percent feel that their company is not really interested in their mental health. Accordingly, only a third of employees consider raising their mental health problems with their superiors or asking them for help.

The market research company Ipsos surveyed 16,000 people aged between 18 and 74 in 16 countries for the study on behalf of Axa last year. In Switzerland, 1,000 people took part in the survey, including 709 employees.

©Keystone/SDA

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