Breaking-point news? Healthcare workers most stressed

Healthcare workers appear to be more stressed than other professionals, based on an analysis of calls to employee assistance programs.

Chicago-based ComPsych, an employer assistance provider that said it fields millions of calls in its employee assistance programs annually, analyzed callers’ requests for assistance over a year to assess needs by industry, age and gender. The analysis used nine industry categories: construction, finance, healthcare, manufacturing, mineral industries, public administration, retail, service and transportation. Reasons for the calls included alcohol or chemical dependency, stress and anxiety, bereavement, family violence, family/child issues, occupational (that is, referrals for poor performance, absenteeism, etc.), partner or relationship issues, psychological concerns or other.

Healthcare employees placed the highest percentage of calls for stress and anxiety by industry, at 11.2 percent. Workers in service industries came in a close second, at 11.1 percent, followed by transportation (10.6 percent) and finance (9.9 percent). Juggling work and personal life prompted many of the calls, with 18 percent reporting that as their reason for seeking guidance.

Healthcare workers also ranked high for partner/relationship issues, at 20.8, second only to the mineral industries (24.3 percent).

The most calls in all industries addressed psychological issues such as depression or mood disorders. Retail workers topped the list, at 45.7 percent, followed by finance (43.9 percent), transportation (41.6 percent), service industries (41.5 percent), public administration (41.4 percent), healthcare (40.9 percent), manufacturing (39.9 percent), mineral industries (38.2 percent) and construction (36.1 percent).

The authors observed that more employees are calling with complex and interrelated concerns that cross categories. They also noted that men more frequently use the employee assistance programs than before. Ten years ago, 35 percent of calls came from men. In this analysis, 39.3 percent of callers were men.