A WAGGA personal development coach says employers need to better address the problem of stress in the workplace.
The latest findings of the Australian Council of Trade Unions revealed that three-in-five workers have experienced poor mental health, including stress, depression and anxiety in the last 12 months.
The survey, of more than 26,000 workers, suggested this was due to employers failing to manage unsafe working conditions.
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Personal development coach Steve Barker said it is unsurprising that work is one of the leading factors of stress because it is a place where people spend most of their day.
"Workplace stress is massive, it's one of the biggest killers. It can be the start of anxiety and depression, especially if you are not feeling heard or seen," he said. "It just continues and you start shrinking inside yourself - turning inwards and that's when the problem starts."
Mr Barker has first-hand experience overcoming adversity, when he was diagnosed with a cumulative post traumatic stress disorder during his 26 years in the Royal Air Force. It stemmed from several small incidents that happened as far back as when he was 19 years old, but had only affected him once he was much older.
"I thought I had dealt with it but really I swept it under the carpet and did what I needed to do for the air force to get me upgraded and could continue with my career," Mr Barker said.
Although his diagnosis cannot be cured, Mr Barker has learned that there are ways to control it - similar to all situations of stress created through work, relationships, family or finances.
"If we push aside our stress and don't understand our emotions then that is going to have a negative impact on us," he said. "It is about understanding stress and recognising the triggers because if we don't understand it, how can recognise it?
"Then we need to work on de-escalating strategies like breathing, mediation or social interaction. When you have a team of people together, we need to support each other. Workplaces need to manage their greatest asset, which is people.
"We don't need to suffer. Invest in yourself because if we can't have a full cup that's overflowing, we are not going to have a fulfilling life."