33% of Canadian workers at high mental health risk in April 2024

TELUS Mental Health Index reveals declining scores with significant challenges in anxiety, burnout, motivation, and changes in employment due to AI use

33% of Canadian workers at high mental health risk in April 2024

The TELUS Mental Health Index for April 2024 reveals a decline in the overall mental health score of Canadian workers, which is now at 64.0.

This drop follows a brief improvement in March. The Index evaluates various mental health sub-scores, identifying anxiety and isolation as the lowest for the past two years. Despite improvements in some provinces, overall mental health scores have declined or remained unchanged in others.

Mental health risk data indicates that 33 percent of workers have a high mental health risk, 43 percent moderate, and 24 percent low. There has been a slight reduction in high-risk workers and an increase in low-risk workers since April 2020.

The sub-scores show that anxiety (57.5) and isolation (60.2) remain the lowest, followed by depression, work productivity, optimism, and financial risk. Psychological health (71.8) is the most favourable measure.

In regional variations, British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador saw improvements, while Quebec, Manitoba, and the Maritimes experienced significant declines.

Managers have a mental health score of 64.6, which has declined compared to the previous month, whereas non-managers' scores remained unchanged. The data also reveals that labourers have lower mental health scores compared to service industry and office workers.

Burnout and motivation issues are prominent, with 32 percent of workers struggling with motivation, particularly among younger workers and managers.

More than 42 percent report feeling mentally or physically exhausted at the end of their workday, indicating a higher likelihood of burnout among younger workers. Those who find it difficult to be motivated at work have mental health scores nearly 27 points lower than those who do not.

Professional support for mental health is a concern, as 30 percent of workers are unsure or unaware of where to seek help. Workers with access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) have better mental health scores, but 33 percent report that their employer does not offer an EAP, and 22 percent are unsure.

Among those with access, 23 percent last heard about their EAP from their company’s intranet or website.

The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace is mixed. Nearly half of the workers believe AI will positively impact healthcare, while 33 percent think it will benefit their industry.

However, 40 percent are concerned it will increase work stress, with lower scores among those worried about job changes or elimination.

Workers in technology, utilities, and finance and insurance are the most likely to report a positive impact, whereas those in arts, entertainment and recreation, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and food services are the least likely.