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Study shows mental illness affects more Aussie women

Photo: Mental illness affects more Aussie women
More Australian women than men likely to experience mental health issues in the workplace.

Working Australian women are far more likely than men to experience a mental health condition, a new report has found.

Among the working women who report an incidence of mental illness, the largest portion are between 18-24 years according to research from mental health organisation SuperFriend.

The report, released on International Women's Day, surveyed more than 5000 business owners, senior managers and workers across Australia, using 40 scientifically proven indicators to assess mental health in the workplace.

It identifies solutions to facilitate wellbeing and productivity in the workplace.
"Overall, we found women had very different workplace experiences to men, perhaps because men are more heavily represented in senior management roles with a higher share of voice in workplace policies and practices," SuperFriend chief executive Margo Lydon said.

"If you've got male leaders in an organisation or a male-dominated industry, it's crucial to recognise that women need different things from work than men."

"And it's really important that women are engaged in the solution to improving any workplace."

The report found that nearly one quarter of working women are currently experiencing a mental health condition, compared with 15 per cent of men.

26 per cent of women surveyed cited cases of bullying while 23 per cent said they experienced a lack of flexible work arrangements and work-related insomnia.

Only ten per cent of female respondents said they were strongly optimistic that the state of mental health and wellbeing in their workplace would improve.

Leadership experiences of NSW women proved to be the best, compared to the lowest scored in Victoria.

The Northern Territory is well on its way to creating more harmonious workplaces, scoring the highest of all state and territories across all genders.

Women who worked in the arts and recreational industries had the top index score of 68.6.

"It goes into the whole diversity and inclusion debate, when there are decisions that influence and impact people, it's important to make sure those people have a voice and a say and an ability to influence what affects them," Ms Lydon said.

Ms Lydon said women who feel valued and connected within the workforce, will inevitably bring their best self to work, which in-turn lifts productivity and profitability gains.

The Gender Identity Report was taken from SuperFriend's annual Indicators of a Thriving Workplace survey, from July 2018.

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