Underemployment driving ‘excessive’ anxiety among young workers

This article appears in full on the Globe and Mail website.

“A turbulent economy and the changing nature of work are stressing Canadians out.

Some 72 per cent of respondents in the Sun Life Financial Inc. annual health survey said they are experiencing ‘‘excessive” levels of anxiety. Employment status is a key source of strain, which explains why younger workers are the most stressed in the country. Ninety per cent of people aged 18 to 24 say they are feeling overwhelmed.”

“That is altering the types of claims Canada’s third-largest life insurer is seeing. Forty per cent of long-term disability claims among young people now relate to mental health – up from 36 per cent five years ago. Among other age groups, that percentage has held steady. The findings underscores the link between work, stress and health, Mr. Dougherty noted. Full-time workers report far lower stress levels than underemployed, unemployed or part-time ones. He calls the rise in claims relating to mental health among young people ‘‘extraordinary” and cites lost productivity as one of many negative offshoots.”