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Workload, cuts impacting on mental health

THE CPSU is worried about the mental health of public sector workers in Tasmania – a concern the government continues to ignore, deny or inadequately address – but it’s an issue that mustn’t be ignored this Mental Health Week.

Employees suffer ever-growing pressure because of government cuts to staff and resources they need do their jobs and two of our recent surveys show this stress is taking a toll, especially at home.

They provide services Tasmanians rely on such as helping a family desperate for a roof over their heads, answering emergency calls from the public, running programs in libraries, helping children who need extra support in the classroom or ensuring a healthy Devil population into the future. These jobs are crucial.

Surveys of Biosecurity Tasmania and School Admin workers showed remarkably similar consequences of cuts including:

  • Low morale
  • Concerns often ignored
  • Employees not listened to
  • High stress levels
  • Not enough people to do the work
  • Many working extra time daily just to keep their head above water
  • Quality of work suffering which causes even more stress
  • Less time with family
  • Worrying about work even when they are at home
  • Serious impacts on health and personal lives

The CPSU has no doubt this trend is repeated across the public sector, and comments from staff in each survey are deeply disturbing. They talk about not sleeping, being anxious or depressed and using alcohol to ease their worries. They speak of stress manifesting in physical symptoms such as headaches, high blood pressure and fatigue. These problems also affect their loved ones.

These are serious crises that impact on the mental health of public sector employees stuck between their drive and goodwill to help the Tasmanian community and the physical and mental limits of what they’re able to do each day.

Every Hodgman Government minister must stop pretending this issue doesn’t exist and do something about it now not later.

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