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Toxic workplace increases risk of depression by 300%

Men are more likely than women to suffer from depression if their employer does not pay attention to their mental health, add researchers from the University of South Australia in the pages of the prestigious British Medical Journal.

It reminds us that we need to do more prevention for psychosocial risks, which remain partly invisible, commented Jessica Riel, professor in the industrial relations department of the University of Quebec in Outaouais (UQO).

It’s not like a physical risk, like noise, where there is some evidence, she illustrated.

Mental health damage is very difficult to recognize as an occupational disease and it maintains the invisibility of the problem, observed Professor Riel, who believes that psychological health is somewhat the poor relation in terms of health and safety at work.

While working long hours has been associated with an increased risk of death from heart attack or stroke in the past, this study warns that poor management habits increase the risk of depression.

The studies we have done show that there are more than burnout in organizations where the climate is bad, for his part said Professor Luc Brunet, an expert from the University of Montreal who has studied antisocial behavior at work for 30 years and who has already published three books on the subject.

Tyrannical leader, narcissistic leader

Employees trapped in a toxic work climate will find themselves stuck in a sort of vicious circle from which they will struggle to extricate themselves and which will deprive them of the resources they would need, explained the two experts.

What sets in in a toxic climate is isolation, we talk less among colleagues, there is a climate of fear. We feel that we do not have the right to speak because our job could be threatened.

A quote from:Jessica Riel, professor in the Department of Industrial Relations at UQO

The more the work climate is destroyed, the more people distrust each other, confirms Luc Brunet. Employees will therefore not go looking for the support they need.

In terms of psychological health, if we don’t work on improving the climate, it won’t be of much use, added Mr. Brunet.

Leaders who could be described as narcissists or from tyrannical are often responsible for a toxic work climate, and we find them in about one in five companies, according to new studies.

These leaders would appropriate the success of their subordinates and they would crush the people around them to enhance their image as a winner. This strategy may at first go unnoticed by their own bosses, which will allow the situation to continue to deteriorate.

The more the climate deteriorates, the less information gets to management, said Brunet. When the fire is caught, it takes a while for the smoke to reach the management.

But one day, he says, we’ll end up wondering how many people are leaving or getting sick.

At the beginning, we can say that those who leave did not like it or were not in their place, but at some point, when it is the good ones who leave, competent and recognized people, it does not go well., explained Mr. Brunet.

Some 300 million people are believed to suffer from depression around the world.

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