Manufacturing and coal-mining communities more likely to experience depression

Brad Buzzard 9 February 2018 NEWS

coal-mining (1)

The generational effects of workplace anxiety add up according to the Queensland University of Technology.

Psychologists from Queensland University of Technology teamed up with psychologists from universities around the world to study the mental health of people living in manufacturing and coal-mining communities in both the US and the UK.

They found that people in these communities are more likely to experience anxiety and depression than people from other parts of those countries.

They hypothesise that these industrial regions have been selecting for negative emotional traits since the very beginning.

  • People who originally settled there only did so to escape poverty, making them predisposed to negative emotions.
  • The work was difficult and living conditions poor, reinforcing negative emotions within the population.
  • Optimistic people migrated away, further concentrating negative emotions within the selection pool.
  • The decline of industry introduced new economic stressors, creating more negativity.

What can be done to counteract workplace anxiety?

If you have workplace anxiety, ask yourself if there are community-wide influences at play. If so, here are a few things you can do to counteract these forces:

  • If you have the means, consider a change of scenery and seek employment opportunities elsewhere.
  • If you stay, seek ways to positively engage your neighbours. Join community organisations, volunteer and visit local farmers’ markets.
  • Research how your industry is innovating and using new tech. Use this knowledge to upskill and advance your career.
  • Research emerging industries that are expanding and creating jobs. Join a committee aimed at attracting these industries to your community.

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