Workers are broadly happy, but half show signs of depression

Nearly three-quarters of the Maltese workforce is satisfied with life, a nationwide study indicated, although about half reported some symptoms of depression, and one in four may need professional help.

The study – the first of its kind – sheds light on different aspects of the mental health of local workers: While two out of three feel job satisfaction is high, more than 40% show signs of stress and anxiety.

Titled Mental Well-being in the Maltese Workforce and commissioned by Novargo, the study was conducted in collaboration with the Department of Industrial Relations and Employment (DIER).

Novargo management consultant Joshua Zammit provided the statistics to the media on Tuesday.

The survey was conducted between June and August 2021.

Minister Carmelo Abella along with Managing Director Joshua Zammit during Tuesday’s meeting on survey findings Image: DOI

A total of 4135 respondents answered the survey, of which 3,550 were correct answers.

The survey was distributed to workers from different sectors, such as civil protection, health care and education.

What did the survey find?

Zammit explained how the WHO Five Well-Being Index and Satisfaction with a Life Scale were used to measure the mental well-being of workers.

The study found that 73% of the Maltese workforce said they are satisfied with life, while 27% are not.

According to the results, 2% are “not completely satisfied” with life, while 14% voted for “very high life satisfaction”.

When it comes to job satisfaction, two out of five employees experience high job satisfaction (42%), while 37% have medium job satisfaction.

21% said they experience low job satisfaction.

Anxiety and stress are among the most common mental health problems

Overall, the study shows that 77% of respondents are in good mental health, and 12% are classified as “borderline”.

On the other hand, 11% reported that their mental health was poor.

The study found that 23% of employees show symptoms of significant stress and anxiety and need help.

19% showed symptoms of anxiety and stress but did not need help, and 41% showed no signs of mental health problems.

When it comes to depression, nearly half of the Maltese workforce report varying degrees of depressive symptoms, and one in four may need professional help.

The link between sex and mental health

When asked for more details about the study, Zammit explained that sex is associated with mental well-being outcomes for workers.

“From what we saw, females were more likely to report psychological problems, but we also saw that some workers who live in stressful work environments also reported feeling more anxious,” Zmmit said. Times of Malta.

“If a worker is dealing with life-threatening situations, they are more likely to feel stressed than those who are sitting in the office.”

When it comes to age, he said, the report shows that older adults reported improved mental health, while younger workers felt more anxious.

All results of the study will be published soon, Zemmit said.

What will happen now?

The Minister in the Office of Prime Minister Carmelo Abela praised the study, and emphasized that the discussion of mental health had increased, especially in the past two years due to the ongoing pandemic.

“It is important that before we push for any policies, we need to assess the situation in our workforce and how we can move forward,” Abella said.

He said there are many reasons why workers may feel more stressed during this time, as working from home away from colleagues and constantly in front of a screen can lead to feelings of loneliness or anxiety.

“Now we must address the problem, if we want to ensure that our workers have better working conditions, which will lead to greater employee satisfaction and better quality of work.”

It’s also important to stop the stigma, he said, when seeking professional help.

“We need courage, every worker and employer should not experience discrimination or difficulty speaking out when they need help.

He said further discussions will be held with key social players to see the way forward to improve the workforce, and ensure that employees’ mental health remains a top priority.

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