Public servants face depression "crisis"

New report claims burnout and anxiety have the public sector reeling

Canadian public servants are sad—a situation a leading mental health expert says amounts to a “public health crisis.” Public health workers, from nurses to police to bureaucrats, are suffering from depression at unprecedented rates, says Bill Wilkerson of Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Mental Health. Studies show that about 75 per cent of federal executives feel they are on the brink of burnout. Among public servants, mental health claims now account for 45 per cent of all disability claims. For his part, Wilderson blames public sector inertia and an ambiguous chain of command: “The public service is a tsunami of distractions — meetings, everything questioned, delegated, people moving … and no one is really in charge. It’s the most transient, fluid, unsettling work environment on the planet, so why wouldn’t people be anxious and in distress?” PM Stephen Harper created the Mental Health Commission to develop a national mental health strategy. But critics fear the commission will be one of the first victims of federal budget cuts.

National Post